Former Nursery Set to Be Converted into Special Needs School

New use planned for Welcome Day Nursery building on Roehampton Vale

The former premises of the Welcome Day Nursery. Picture: Google Streetview


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August 11, 2023

A school for children and young people needing specialist education could be opening up in an empty building once used as a day nursery in Norstead Place, off the A3, in Roehampton Vale.

Aspris Children’s Services has applied to Wandsworth Council for a change of use for the former Welcome Day Nursery building to enable it to offer education services on weekdays from 8am-5pm.

The former nursery closed at the end of 2020 and the landmark property is now vacant, according to the report submitted to the council by Aspris.

The organisation says it provides expert specialist education services for children and young people aged 5 to 25 with a range of conditions and special education needs, including autism and social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) difficulties, through its schools and further education colleges.

All the pupils who would attend the proposed new school would be aged between 14 and 19, with their education taking place in small groups, given their specific needs.

They would generally arrive and leave from the school in shared vehicles – mainly private taxis.

Planning consultant Simon Metcalf said in a letter sent on behalf of the applicant: “We trust that planning permission will be granted in due course for this much-needed proposal that will deliver significant social and community benefits.”

The proposed facilities to cater for about 24 pupils will include two classrooms, sensory rooms, library, activity areas, dining room and staff areas. It aims to offer support for children unable to attend mainstream education.

A report submitted alongside the planning application by Alder King Planning Consultants argues that the school proposed could be considered a “community facility”, with pupils coming from Wandsworth and neighbouring boroughs.

The report states: “While there is no planning policy requirement…to demonstrate a need for the proposed education use, it is clear that there is a pressing need for specialist education facilities of the nature being proposed.”

It adds that there is a “notable” lack of local opportunities for specialist education and training, especially for those aged over 16.

“Without provision of additional specialist education facilities, such as that proposed here, there is a risk that a greater number of local children will need to travel further, and out of area, to receive the specialist education and training that they require.

“To send children further afield would be inherently unsustainable and has the potential to reduce the learning opportunities for these vulnerable young people,” it claimed.

Wandsworth Council is seeking comments on the scheme, and you can make your views known by searching for application 2023/2538 on the council’s planning explorer .


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