The new permanent home for Friar’s Centre Playgroup – to be operated in future under the name of Sweet Peas Nursery – is another development by the Council’s development company PSP Southend LLP, established in partnership with Public Sector Plc.
This project follows on from the completion of the regeneration of the former Hinguar Primary School and Saxon Lodge sites in Shoeburyness to convert the sites into new housing, which included the sale of nine affordable units and a further six units to Moat Housing Association.
The nursery is set to open in October and will help meet the increased demand for nursery places in the Borough since the Government introduced its 30 hours free childcare scheme last year.
Completion of the nursery development will be swiftly followed by the construction of nine new homes, which will help to finance the scheme.
As part of the project, the Council successfully secured £331,837 from the Department for Education to enable the new nursery to create 24 new places and extend its current 26 places from part-time to full-time.
Councillor Helen Boyd, cabinet member for children and learning, said: “The completion of the nursery and new family housing in a sustainable location will be a very welcome development for hard-working parents in the area, who will be able to benefit from the new places and the national 30 hours’ free childcare funding made available by the Government.”
Cllr James Courtenay, cabinet member for growth, said: “This was an underused and partially vacant brownfield site, so it is great to see it put to good use for the community.
Delivering the project through the Council’s development company, has ensured best value for money to the council and local taxpayers and has enabled the nursery to be built in advance of the housing.”
David Samson, Regional Director, Public Sector Plc said: “This project, completed on budget and to programme, has created a much needed new community facility and is a great example of public/private sector partnerships, creating value from assets to achieve exciting and positive outcomes for the local community.”