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‘Need is for a nursery not another store’
A NURSERY owner has expressed her disappointment at plans to build a new supermarket in Abbey Meads.
Earlier this month an application was submitted to the council for a large grocery store with two smaller units in a derelict building in the village centre, which used to be a nursery.
Faye Horan, of nearby Glitterbugs Nursery, believes more should have been done to try and keep the building as a nursery to help tackle the shortage of places in North Swindon.
She said: “It’s a real shame it could not have been kept as a children’s facility or nursery.
“It’s better to have it filled than lying empty, but with so many parents needing somewhere for their children to go it would have been far more useful as a nursery.
“I know quite a few people have looked at moving into the building, but the rent being asked has always been too high.”
The building was previously operated by Leapfrog Nursery and later Busy Bees, but has been empty since 2006.
In that time the building, which is now covered in graffiti, has been left to fall apart and has been vandalised.
The new plans would most likely see Morrison’s put a new M-Local store in the larger space with the occupants of the two smaller shops currently unknown.
If successful, the application would also see an extra 17 car spaces.
Ms Horan said: “There is already a Tesco in Abbey Meads village so it isn’t needed.
“We certainly looked at moving in as it would have been ideal, but the amount they were asking was more than any nursery could have afforded.
“We asked about the possibility of sub-letting part of the building for extra income, but we were told we were not allowed.
“I think the building’s owners have a social responsibility to try and use the building for its original purpose which is so badly needed.
“Several nurseries have closed recently so those parents have needed to find somewhere else to send their children and [considering] all the new builds due for north Swindon.”
Local councillors and North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson have, in the past, worked with the owner to get them to drop the rent for the building but were unable to lower the price.
Mr Tomlinson said: “I welcome Morrisons if they come, but it is a shame the building could not be used for its original purpose.
He said discussions had been held several times, but the landlord had been “exceptionally unhelpful”.
No one from IDP Midlands, the agents handling the application, was available to comment.
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