A Leighton Buzzard nursery under fire for its “noisy children” has been granted permission to extend its opening hours and use its garden more.
Footsteps Nursery in Albany Road can now run from 7.30am to 6.30pm Monday to Friday – a half hour extension at both the start and end of the day – to allow more flexibility for parents.
And the nursery has also successfully had another planning condition removed which had restricted the use of its garden area at 10.30am-11.30am and 2.15pm-3.15pm for no more than 10 children at a time.
The changes were sanctioned by Central Beds Council’s development control committee today by a 10-0 vote with one abstention.
The alterations had drawn 27 letters of objection from neighbouring properties, and a 45-signature petition from residents in Albany Road, South Street, Lovent Drive and Hartwell Grove.
They insisted the noise from inside the nursery already caused unacceptable levels of disturbance for retired people, shift workers and home workers and that extending the hours, coupled with extra use of the garden, would only make matters worse.
Complainants described the door knocker as “penetrating and wakes up neighbouring occupiers”, they said “it is impossible to work from home currently during the hours at which children are allowed to play outside, due to the high levels of noise”, and “the nursery should take children to the nearby park to play in”.
Aside from potential noise issues, objectors also highlighted “critical” parking problems in Albany Road which they say would be exacerbated by an extension to the operating hours.
But there was also a counter petition containing 67 signatures from clients of the nursery, seven of whom live in Albany Road or the immediately surrounding streets. And an online petition set up after the LBO reported on the issues last Friday drew over 500 signatures of support for the business.
As part of the approval, the nursery must now submit a noise management plan to CBC within a month.
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