Pre-school in limbo over its new home

6:00pm Wednesday 4th June 2014

By Chloe Chapman

BOSSES of a fire-hit preschool say they have been “left in limbo” – despite a residents’ association being told to leave its base to make room for the group.

Basildon Council told Five Links Residents’ Association it had to leave its base in Somercotes, Laindon, so the building could be revamped for Busy Bees.

The pre-school, in nearby Laindon Link, burnt to the ground in a suspected arson attack in February and staff have been told it is unlikely it will be rebuilt.

However, the move to the Five Links Residents Association has also stalled, leaving Busy Bees in doubt about when – or if – it will happen.

Tracey Hill, office manager at the pre-school, said: “Because of the elections, we are still waiting to hear exactly who is in charge now and what’s happening. We’ve been left in limbo.

“Five Links is a good location for us because a lot of parents live on the estate, but we don’t want to kick anyone out.

“We’re happy to share the building with the residents’ association.

“Our main aim is still to get back to our own building.

“If the council rebuilt it, we would buy the lease and rent it out to all the other groups who have been left stranded by the fire.”

Basildon Council is set to plough money into regenerating Bluehouse Farm Community Centre, which is next door to the former Busy Bees building and was also damaged in the blaze.

Eventually, Busy Bees could be given a permanent home in the community centre.

Basildon Council refused to confirm whether Five Links was still an option, but said it was “always a temporary solution”.

A spokesman added: “Our property management team is assessing a number of options to help Busy Bees Nursery, including the possibility of carrying out remedial works at Bluehouse Farm Community Centre, which adjoins the old nursery building damaged by the fire last February.

“As soon as a viable option is chosen, it will be put forward to the staff and parents.”

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