Pre-school's uncertain future as college moves

A GRAYS pre-school which has served the community for more than 30 years is fighting to secure its future.

Managers at the Thurrock and Basildon College Pre-school say they feel forgotten about and let down after Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corp- oration approved controversial plans to demolish Woodview Campus, owned by South Essex College, and build 360 new homes on the site, leaving the pre-school with nowhere to go.

The plans, which have been sent to the Government for a final seal of approval, would see the college move to a new campus in Grays town centre, but leave the pre-school homeless.

The school, which is independent of the college, is currently full, with 73 children on the books. There is also a waiting list.

Cara Wyatt, the pre-school’s manager, told the Gazette: “We thought we were moving with the college, but we’re not. We have a lease with the college until next July and then, after that, who knows.

“We have been here for more than 30 years. The council has told me there is a big need for pre-schools in this area, but we’re having to look for a new premises.

“There’s going to be 362 new homes in this area and no pre-school.

“It’s really, really sad. I’m writing to church and village halls looking for a place we can move to. Nobody makes any profit from the pre-school.”

Cara added: “We feel let down and a bit forgotten.”

A South Essex College spokesperson said: “We have been working closely with the pre-school in relocating them after July 31, 2013.

“While there are no plans for a nursery facility at the new college, we are at the early stage of discussions regarding an alternative childcare offer, such as working with local nurseries, with regards the new Thurrock campus when it opens in September 2014.”

Persimmon Homes, the developer responsible for building the new homes at Woodview, has said it will commit £5,000 per unit towards health and education in the borough.

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