New purpose built home for Snapdragon pre-school

Posted on: 18 March 2013

The future of a Northam pre-school looks set, as work to build a new purpose built facility is due to start on Monday 1 April.

A pre-school, run by a parent-led Committee, has been using temporary accommodation in the United Community Centre, Northam, for the past year courtesy of Tarka Housing.

Now, with funding secured from a range of sources, including Devon County Council, LEADER 4 North Devon & Torridge, the Bideford Bridge Trust and from local fund raising, the pre-school has agreed plans to locate a new facility on Devon County Council’s playing fields at Jackets Lane, Northam, adjacent to St Georges School.

Planning permission for the single storey, flat-roofed building has already been approved by Torridge District Council, and ground works are due to start next month.

The timber-frame, timber-clad building will be of modular design, meaning that it will be made in its entirety off-site, and transported in as soon as ground works are ready.
It will be fitted with low energy lighting and eco-flushing toilets, and in future the pre-school hopes to fit PV panels.

The ground works, by LJ Developments, are expected to take about 12 weeks, subject to weather conditions.

Snapdragons Director, Jo Manley is confident that once the new pre-school building is ready, and they’ve moved everything over to the new location, they’ll be ready for the start of term in September.

As part of the ground work, a stretch of Devon bank bordering the site and Jackets Lane will be moved two metres further away from the road, and a pavement built along the lane, linking up with a new housing estate.

Director Jo Manley said:

“I am extremely excited about the whole project.

“My thanks to Tarka Homes for very generously accommodating us for the last 15 months. 

“Thanks as well to Devon County Council and Cllr Eastman in particular for their funding and allowing us to use the land.  And to RGP Architects in Roundswell, who have helped us through design and planning, and to everyone locally who has helped us raise funding to enable this to happen.

“This will allow us to have our own, purpose-built, designated pre-school. We’ll be able to increase the number of pre-school children we care for and recruit more carers.”

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member whose responsibilities include early years services, said:

“The new building will enhance the mix of pre-school provision in the area, and we’re pleased to support it.”

Councillor Andrew Eastman, local Devon County Councillor for Northam, said:

“I am delighted that Snapdragon pre-school is now moving in the right direction, and I share the many mums’ and dads’ view that it will be of great benefit to the area.  It has been a long time coming and it is thanks largely to Jo Manley and her team who have helped move the project along.”

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