Prestonfield's Cameron House Nursery to permanently shut after one person attends meeting

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The nursery has sat empty since 2019

An unused Edinburgh council-owned nursery will be permanently shut – after a public meeting on its closure was attended by just one person.

Prestonfield’s Cameron House Nursery has sat empty since 2019 and is now set to be offered up to other council services.

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In the four years it has not been used by the authority’s children’s services the B-listed building has “suffered from anti-social behaviour including the recent fire vandalism,” a report to councillors said.

A meeting organised to gather views on the closure was attended by only one member of the public however, the report revealed.

Cameron House Nursery. Image: google.Cameron House Nursery. Image: google.
Cameron House Nursery. Image: google. | Google

And an online survey yielded just three responses.

In advance of a planned refurbishment of Cameron House Nursery, children and staff moved to Prestonfield Primary in 2019. The works were then put on hold put on hold “in light of low numbers to allow future intake and demand to be monitored,” and the following year it was registered as inactive with the Care Inspectorate.

However the “accuracy” of the council’s timeline of events was challenged by one of the questionnaire responses. The “accuracy of statements . . . describing the access to Cameron House as ‘not fit for purpose’” was also questioned.

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But the council said it believed the description was “appropriate,” adding: “There is only one access route to Cameron House nursery.

“This route is up an incline with steps. It does not support easy access for buggies or push chairs. It also presents serious issues for anyone with mobility issues especially wheelchairs.”

Last year, prior to fire damage, it was estimated the building’s fabric was in need of a cash injection of over £300k. The council said further investment would be required to “bring the building and grounds up to an appropriate standard to operate as a nursery again” and the cost of mothballing the nursery would be around £27,000 a year.

The closure was formally approved at an all-council meeting on Thursday, May 9.

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Scottish Government Ministers now have eight weeks to call-in the decision and could move to overturn it if they feel the process has not been properly followed. The public is also able to make representations to Ministers in the next three weeks.

The report said: “Should no other council service wish to use the building, community or voluntary organisations could express an interest in a Community Asset Transfer.

“This would require a viable business plan to be in place. If there is no interest in the building through these processes then commercial opportunities to generate income from the site would be considered.”

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