Public meeting backs nursery move

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By Hugh Boag

Relocating Brodick Nursery to share space with Arran Library was the near unanimous view of a public meeting held last week to discuss the future of the nursery which is under threat of closure.

The nursery held a public meeting last Wednesday night and more than 60 parents, grandparents, businesses and others, with an interest in childcare, turned out on a very wet Wednesday night to discuss the situation in Brodick Hall.

The meeting was chaired by Sheila Gilmore, who has a granddaughter who attends the nursery, with chairwoman of the parent committee Jenny Duncan and nursery manager Aileen Brand beside her.

Jenny explained the nursery had been offered a partitioned section of the hall where the stage is at present but they felt this did not sufficiently meet their needs. There was also worries at what additional works they may uncover during any remedial works.

Concerns were expressed that North Ayrshire Council may be unwilling to find a solution so they could create a ‘super nursery’ for all the island children, with a suggestion that £300,000 had already been set aside for allocation to the Lamlash early years classes.

But with 34 new council houses due to be built this year in Brodick there was felt to be a pressing need to retain the nursery in Brodick.

There were mixed views over the possibility of the nursery building their own purpose-built facility or taking over an existing property, but the overall feeling was that this was unlikely to be achievable.

Discussion then turned  to making the best use of the community facilities available. The Ormidale Pavilion was ruled out as being too small and too disruptive to the present users.

However, many at the meeting felt the library premises were underused and felt it may be an ideal long term solution for the needs of the nursery.

The library was said to be underused, closed on two weekdays and its computers not as vital as they once were. While there was no wish to see the library closed, it was felt it could be accommodated in a smaller building – with Alexanders and the empty Scottish Hydro shop both mentions – and making more use of the mobile library. The computers were thought could be set up elsewhere in Brodick Hall, possibly in little used storage rooms.

A vote was taken in the hall to ‘look at the library as an option’ and was overwhelming passed with a near unanimous show of hands.

Sheila, in the chair, asked if the two Arran resident North Ayrshire councillors, Timothy Billings and Ellen McMaster, who attended the meeting if they would take this up with officials at the council.