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By Hugh Boag
A long term solution looks to have been found which will save Brodick Nursery.
North Ayrshire Council have agreed to look into the possibility of the nursery sharing the space in Brodick Hall currently occupied by the library.
It follows a public meeting held at last week when there was a near unanimous show of hands backing this option.
Now ‘very positive’ talks have taken with council officials who have told the parent committee they would be willing to support the idea of using the current library space to create a multi-purpose, ‘community hub’ where both a purpose built nursery and a new updated library space could be combined within the current space.
A letter from the interim executive of communities, Audrey Sutton, states: ‘This means that we will now commission an architect to scope out further options in relation to the library space and once these are prepared, present all options to you for full appraisal and consideration. I will share further information regarding timescales etc with you as soon as this is available.’
However, while the council would help with the planning it would be up to the parent committee to complete any building works using local tradesman and volunteers as seen in TV porogrammes like DIY SOS.
Chairwoman Jenny Duncan said: ‘Although the council are willing to give us use of the space and finance us through the planning stage of this process, the re-build itself can really only be done with the proposition put forward by Rachel Armitage at the meeting of a DIY SOS style approach.
‘This is where the whole community will now hopefully come forward to donate their time, resources and labouring skills to help build what essentially will be known as a community hub to accommodate both the library and the nursery, and perhaps even some other amenities. We are so lucky to have so many skilled workers here on the island as well as businesses who are already offering their help in fundraising and business expertise that hopefully we can create something pretty amazing.
‘I am under no illusion of how big this project will be and I know this is just the beginning of a very long journey but it is one that I am personally really looking forward to now, especially when only last week the future of Brodick Nursery was so bleak. We are aware that we will need to call on as many people to help from the local community as possible but from the meeting held the other night this is something I do not foresee as a problem. It is very exciting to think that now we could build something together as a community for everyone to enjoy, that will hopefully last a lifetime and who knows, maybe even my grandchildren may even be able to use in the future.’
‘For now, the nursery will continue in the hall temporarily and from August 2020 offering the hours 8.45am to 2.45pm accommodating other hall users when needed. Planning will hopefully start imminently and fingers crossed we can get something in place for this time next year if not certainly for those starting in nursery August 2021. By then off course the hall will be free for other local groups to use and hopefully the whole community can benefit from the building.
‘The nursery committee would like to say a huge thanks to all the parents of Brodick early years over the past week who have supported us on our campaign, there have been countless letters written and their words of encouragement have kept us going through some fairly tough meetings when all we came across were ‘no’s and financial impossibilities. This is a great example of the power of voice and sometimes if you make enough noise, you eventually get heard. On that note we would also like to thank Ellen McMaster and Timothy Billings for attending the meeting and reporting back to the council.’
Arran MSP Kenneth Gibson has also been thanked for his lobbying on behalf of the nursery. He said: I am delighted that there is no threat to Brodick early years and that while there is room at present and plans for development, there is no pressing need for this work to be done by August 2020.
‘Brodick Nursery will therefore be able to deliver 1,140 hours from the current accommodation at Brodick Hall which mean that the high quality service provided by Brodick Nursery will continue.’
A North Ayrshire Council spokesman said: ‘We had a very positive and constructive discussion with the group within the past few days.
‘As a result, we have agreed to explore a range of options for the nursery’s future. Nothing has been agreed at this stage and we will continue to work with the local community in the coming weeks and months to support the group in finding a solution which works for all.’
A near unanimous show of hands at the meeting in support of the library move. 01_B06meeting01
The packed hall seen from the balcony at the public meeting. 01_B06meeting03