05:00PM, Friday 05 March 2021
A forest preschool in Bray is fighting to remain open by filing a second retrospective planning application.
Little Muddy Me, in Monkey Island Lane, has launched a retrospective planning application to change the use of land from an outdoor leisure area to an outdoor pre-school.
If the application is successful, it will allow the preschool to retain the structures it has already built for this purpose, including fencing, seating and toilets.
Planning permission was sought last March for a change of use but it was withdrawn by the preschool. Had the application progressed to determination, officers ‘would have been minded to recommend refusal’ because of its effect on the greenbelt.
Officers felt that the proposed change of use would generate more frequent activity on the site, and the visibility of structures from outside the site ‘would cause harm to the openness of the greenbelt spatially [and] visually.’
A total of 20 letters of support for the new application have been submitted to the Royal Borough.
Many of these are from parents whose children have been enjoying Little Muddy Me and its unusual opportunity for learning in nature at preschool level.
Bray Parish Council ward councillors also recommended the application for approval.
Victoria Egarr, who owns Little Muddy Me, said that the community have been ‘very supportive’ and Little Muddy me has been ‘inundated’ with enquiries.
“We are worried and concerned that we won’t get planning and will need to close down,” she said.
“This would be devastating, it’s an amazing environment and the children are thriving.
“The benefits of an outdoor nursery are huge and with COVID, parents want this option for their children more than ever.”