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Inverness church hall may become a nursery to help meet new child care provision

By Neil MacPhail

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Crown Church
Crown Church

A PROPOSAL to create an early learning centre (ELC) in Crown Church beside Crown Primary School is being considered by Highland Council planners.

The expansion of the nursery school facilities in Crown Primary are needed to accommodate the Scottish Government initiative to increase early learning provision entitlement to 1140 hours per annum as part of the government’s Space To Grow policy.

It highlights that care services, including early learning and childcare and out-of-school care settings play a hugely important role in the lives of thousands of children across Scotland.

It is proposed that the Crown ELC, for children aged two to five, would be accommodated in the church’s lower hall, and listed building consent is required to demolish 14 metres of the wall between the church and school to create a small educational garden and play area. Minor alterations are also required within the lower hall.

The application by the council also involves a fence round the new garden and play area. The Design Consultancy carried out a feasibility study for the alterations.

Historic Environment Scotland considered the application and did not have any comments to make, but added that no comments “should not be taken as our support for the proposals”. There are no comments from the public either.

The Scottish Government wants to increase the entitlement to free early learning and childcare to 1140 hours per year by 2020, for all three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds, to support its national priorities of “giving all children the best start in life and making Scotland the best place in the world to grow up.

It added: “Provision of universally accessible and high-quality early learning childcare establishes the skills and confidence children need throughout their care and learning journey, and is a cornerstone of Space to Grow.”

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