Shropshire Star

Disused Telford nursing home site could be turned into children's nursery under plans

A former nursing home site which has been described as a ‘sitting target for vandalism and arson’ could home a children’s nursery.

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Telford & Wrekin Council has submitted plans for Cartlidge House in Oakengates to become a nursery school using two demountable buildings.

The nursing home has been empty for over two years and is due to be demolished this spring.

The council has now earmarked the site to be the new home of Oakengates Nursery School which was previously based at the town’s theatre building.

However, due to the theatre regeneration and refurbishment project the nursery, which provides places for 108 children, needs a new site by Easter. The new theatre plans do not include a nursery.

“Therefore, there would be a large number of children left without a nursery placement should the relocation be unsuccessful,” says a planning statement submitted by the council.

“Currently vacant, the relocation of the nursery to Cartlidge House site will breathe life back into the space which is currently a sitting target for vandalism and arson.

“The re-use of a brownfield site is preferable to that of using nearby greenfield. The creation of the nursery is essential to ensure that the educational provision is still available for the young children of the local area.

“Proposals will provide a fantastic facility and environment for learning and growth with the potential for greater levels of outdoor engagement.

“It is hoped that the new proposed site will offer greater outdoor play options and feel a lot more suburban within its context than the current site.

“The timescales in which this project needs to be delivered means that the use of demountables is imperative.”

Plans state that the main body of the nursery will be housed within a refurbished demountable stretching the length of the former Cartlidge House footprint.

The existing outdoor play equipment and a further single classroom demountable is proposed to be transferred from the current site.

The council states that the new single-storey buildings proposals will be ‘far less dominant’ than the previous care home which was two and three stories in height.

The current car park at the site is proposed to be increased in length to provide spaces for up to 21 cars.

The council also proposes to build a new widened footpath link connecting the site’s car park to the existing public car park off Hartshill.

Should this be at capacity, the existing theatre car park is a five-minute walk from the site.

The planning application documents state that the new nursery provision is ‘almost like-for-like’ from the previous building.

They state that the only spaces ‘slightly smaller’ are the snack prep kitchen, laundry and circulation space.

The council adds that the plan provides an increase in the outdoor play area with a bigger grassed area than is currently available.

The council added: “A number of alternative sites were considered within Oakengates, including Wombridge Primary School, however all were deemed unsuitable due to either lack of space, lack of outdoor provision, accessibility or parking provision.

“The bowling green at Hartshill Park was highlighted as an unused and clear site and its potential in terms of location, fantastic outdoor amenity space – however, due to excessive objections from locals, we have explored a further option on the former site of Cartlidge House.

“The overall design has been discussed, developed and agreed with the nursery and education department to ensure it meets all their requirements, is functional and provides an open and inclusive learning space.”

Plans can be viewed on the Telford & Wrekin Council planning portal on their website, application number TWC/2024/0198. Any comments need to be made during the consultation phase which ends on April 5.