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Thumbs up for new crèche and after school club in Armagh

Formation Works Armagh

Plans have been granted for a new crèche, day nursery and after school club in Armagh.

Little Orchard Nursery – owned by Julie and Richard Morton – will open up its new premises at Formation Works on the Edenaveys Road.

The application form notes the 962sqm site was formerly a kitchen of the call centre at the site and a first floor store.

According to the supporting statement submitted alongside the application, the nursery is a joint venture between the building’s landlord, Portbannis Ltd, and the child care provider.

And it will “generate employment for 51 staff over a range of full and part time roles” and the £600,000 fit-out will create 41 construction jobs.

The project will, once operational, result in a net contribution of £30,000 to the rateable income of the council.

As part of the application process, the applicant was required to consider alternative sites in the town centre, within the whole catchment of the proposal, first, followed by edge-of-centre sites and then accessible out-of-centre sites.

It is noted that no Development Opportunity Sites were designated within the Armagh Area Plan 2004 and although The Armagh City Master Plan (2009) is not a statutory planning document, it could be viewed as relevant by the Council and provides a useful insight to further opportunities in the city, including Loughall Road Mill, Gough Barracks and St Luke’s Hospital.

These sites were either not suitable or viable in relation to this application. Other sites included lands between Killylea Road and  Emania Terrace; a site on the Lonsdale Road in Armagh and The Shambles Yard, none of which were suitable.

The application also noted the need for such a facility in the area, pointing out there are currently three comparable crèche facilities in the city and the proposed tenant is aware “parents are choosing to bypass the existing provision in the city and use the facilities in the next settlements to avoid travelling through traffic congestion”.

It also explains that each of the children’s rooms will have its own access into a new area of outdoor recreation space and this will result in the creation of four new double doorway openings created along the rear elevation.

Operating weekly between 7:30am and 6pm the facility will provide two baby and cot rooms; two toddler rooms with toilet provision; one preschool room with toilet provision; one after school room with toilet provision; a sensory room and other ancillary accommodation including a staff room, kitchen, reception and stores.

On the first floor, a 270sqm area will be used as an interactive space for use by all age groups.

The nursery will be able to accommodate 110 pupils and if it is filled it is estimated there will be a total of 33 people walking from and to the site on a daily basis, two cyclists; 48 cars; 66 car passengers; two taxis and two buses.

The peak time for these journeys will be between 8am and 9am and 5pm and 6pm and it notes the parking requirement for the new facility is less than the current provided spaces on site.

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