New centre for kids big step closer after 79 home plan is passed

Hawthorn Tree Community Children's Centre, committee members and children celebrate getting a new building. Front L-R Abby Ward 4, Sophie Bursnell 5, Libby Ward 7, Joshua Bursnell 7, Sophie Ailsby 6, Charlie Ailsby 4, Oliver Bursnell 1. Back L-R Imogen Ailsby 1, Jo Ailsby - chair of trustees, Jacqui Ward - committee member, Melanie White - manager, Emma Bursnell - committee member.
Hawthorn Tree Community Children's Centre, committee members and children celebrate getting a new building. Front L-R Abby Ward 4, Sophie Bursnell 5, Libby Ward 7, Joshua Bursnell 7, Sophie Ailsby 6, Charlie Ailsby 4, Oliver Bursnell 1. Back L-R Imogen Ailsby 1, Jo Ailsby - chair of trustees, Jacqui Ward - committee member, Melanie White - manager, Emma Bursnell - committee member.

Hawthorn Tree Children’s Centre in Fishtoft is a step closer to moving out of its prefabricated building and into bigger and newer premises - after outline planning permission was given for 79 homes in the area.

Developers Lealand Homes have pledged to give land for a new building for the existing children’s centre with the go-ahead (subject to conditions) for the home build to the east of Toot Lane.

It comes as proposals are also being examined from another developer for 340 homes to the west.

Jo Ailsby, chair of trustees for the Hawthorn Tree Community Children’s Centre, said: “This will make a huge difference. The building we are in now has had its time.

“We have had funding from Lincolnshire County Council for £200,000 for the new building. It will mean we can cater for more children and provide more services.”

The centre is a non-profit making community group and charity and works closely with the adjacent Hawthorn Tree School and other primary schools to help children make the transition to school each year. It offers a pre-school, after school club, breakfast club and holiday club.

Mrs Ailsby added: “We are hoping with more room in the new building we will be able to run extra services like a parents’ workshop and be able to work with other professionals, such as providing speech and language therapy.

“There is a growing need for pre-school places so we are really pleased with the news. We have been waiting for a few years for this.

“We are hoping the new building will be up and ready within the next 12-18 months.”

The bigger development of 340 homes – from S Budge and Co – could also include the widening of a section of Toot Lane to provide a school drop-off point.

In letters to the borough council signed off by parish clerk Kathy Partridge, Fishtoft Parish Council raised several issues with the plans. In respect of the larger plan there were ‘concerns at the additional amount of traffic’ with councillors asking for the whole road to become a 30mph limit. There was also a request for a pedestrian crossing and concerns over sewers backing up during heavy rain.

The new building for the children’s centre will be next to the school and will mean it can cater for around 80 children, double its current number. It will also feature a play area.