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Harrietsham Pre-School in Maidstone forced to find new home

A village nursery is facing an uncertain future after being given months to find a new home.

Harrietsham Pre-School, which has 65 children on its roll, has rented space cheaply from the local primary, in West Street, for 12 years.

But rising numbers of pupils mean the school needs its classroom back.

Children and staff at Harrietsham Pre-School will have to leave West Street by July
Children and staff at Harrietsham Pre-School will have to leave West Street by July

Staff and parents were told last month the 30-year-old pre-school had to be out by July.

Its manager, Susan Snoad, said: “Time is against us. If we close there is going to be a severe lack of places in the village.

"Parents will have to pay for childcare or travel much further.

“We are a charity so have some reserved funding and are exploring all possibilities.”

A local landowner is willing to build a site from scratch and rent it cheaply to the pre-school, but gaining planning permission could take some time.

In the meantime Mrs Snoad, 46, has made inquiries about temporary sites, but says the charity cannot afford commercial rent.

The pre-school receives funding for the provision of free early years education for children aged two to four years old.

Harrietsham Pre-School manager Susan Snoad
Harrietsham Pre-School manager Susan Snoad

With many people moving to the area, the demand for both school and nursery spaces is increasing.

Starting this academic year, Harrietsham Primary is adding another reception class of 30 each year, forcing it to lose the pre-school space.

Head teacher, Linda Oliver, said: “We appreciate this is a difficult time and will support them in any way we can in finding alternative premises.

“We would like to thank pre-school staff for their professionalism during these difficult times and we wish them and the children all the best for the future.”

Mrs Snoad added: “We have a really good relationship with the school and they have been very generous to us.

“Part of the delay in them telling us is because they were looking for another option.”

  • If you can help the pre-school find a home, call 01622 851819.

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