Stenhousemuir social work offices not suitable for nursery children

The former social work offices in Stenhousemuir will no longer be considered for the site of a new nursery after residents raised concerns.

The decision was made at a meeting of Falkirk Council’s education committee after hearing residents raised fears about the site in King Street being too close to the main road, too noisy and too polluted to be suitable for a new nursery.

Feedback from a public meeting in Stenhousemuir Primary School, held in December as part of a consultation, echoed written responses that were overwhelmingly opposed to the proposal.

The majority of responses preferred the option of a single Early Years Campus to be located at the Inchlair site.

The councillors on the Education executive agreed that officers should look carefully at plans to amalgamate the existing Inchlair nursery with Larbert Day ELC on the current Inchlair site.

If this goes ahead, Larbert Day ELC will become surplus to requirements.

There was a more positive response, however, to proposals to use a former private nursery in Callendar Business Park, which offers an exceptional setting for outdoor educational learning, play and experiences.

At another public meeting in December, held at Victoria Primary School, those attending expressed a ‘strong preference’ for using three sites including Callendar Business Park, Woodburn and Victoria Primary School.

The Queen Street site will become surplus to requirements.

Another site in Bo’ness will be looked at very carefully before being taken forward.

Councillor Robert Bissett expressed concerns about the suitability of the site at Kinglass Social Work offices.

He was reassured by council officials that they were looking closely at concerns such as parking and drop-off facilities.

Residents who attended a public meeting in December were enthusiastic about the plans for more provision but worried that sharing a site with a busy health centre would pose a danger to families with very young children attending nursery.

Officers agreed to look at the site, taking into account the comments, and ways to create a separate entrance and internal division to ensure these were two separate buildings.

At the Education Executive meeting, council leader Cecil Meiklejohn said: “I think the consultation process has gone very well.

“Those who articulated their opinions can see them expressed in the report.”

The new nurseries are the result of a massive expansion in nursery care, funded by the Scottish Government.

There are smaller projects underway to enhance accommodation or outdoor space at California, Airth, Avonbridge, Sacred Heart and Stenhousemuir Primary Schools.

A major project to create new facilities at Hallglen Primary is well underway, with plans to be finalised this month.

There are also discussions being held to create a ne w facility to serve Morry and Beancross Primaries.

And plans are also being developed to create a new facility near Kinnaird.

These projects will mean 80 new posts being created, from head of centre to ELC assistants, with some full and some part-time positions.