Plans lodged to demolish Havering nursery to build five homes and bigger centre

Plans have been put forward to replace a Havering nursery with a more spacious centre and five new homes.

The proposals would involve tearing down the Harold Hill branch of Bright Futures Nursery, in Gooshays Drive, and an adjacent three-bedroom house.

In their place, developers Serabeth Homes hope to build an expanded day-care alongside two residential buildings, which it says will suit the largely urban area.

The housing development would comprise a trio of three-bedroom homes and a neighbouring block of two flats, spread over two floors.

Documents outlining the project were submitted by Serabeth Homes to Havering Council’s planning department on May 15.

The homebuilder had sought advice prior to submitting the application, and was told by the council that its initial plans for eight homes were “excessive”.

In a design and access statement, an agent from Serabeth said the “much-needed” homes would occupy an “underutilised parcel of land” that is dominated by an “inefficient and sprawling” nursery.

It had initially floated the idea of eight homes, but cut this down to six based on council feedback before lowering the number to five. No affordable housing will be included, as the number of homes falls below the minimum requirement of ten.

The area is largely residential and the new blocks would be situated close to both the Harold Hill train station and the town centre, which has been identified by Havering as a target for regeneration.

Bright Futures caters for a total of 80 children, aged between three months and three years old. According to Serabeth, the new nursery would be able to accommodate up to 116 youngsters. The number of staff members would not change from 27.

Havering’s planning officers had previously recommended that Serabeth move away from its initial grey colour scheme and explore a more “playful” approach, which it says it has done with its more colourful designs.

The Harold Hill centre was rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted in 2022, during its last inspection. It listed there being 65 places available, with 56 children enrolled.

Serabeth’s proposals also include provisions for parking and bin storage, alongside additional landscaping.

A decision is expected to be made by Havering Council by July 10.

Sebastian Mann

Local democracy reporter