New home for fire-hit pre-school

Busy Bees pre-school was forced to close in February after a huge blaze

Busy Bees pre-school was forced to close in February after a huge blaze

First published in News

A FIRE-HIT pre-school has finally been given the go-ahead to move into a new home.

Busy Bees will start running classes from the newly-named Somercotes Community Hall from Monday, September 8.

The pre-school was forced to close in February after its building next door to Bluehouse Farm Community Centre, in Laindon Link, Laindon, was destroyed in a suspected arson attack.

Workers from Basildon Council are currently refurbishing the new base, in Somercotes, Laindon- which was previously home to the Five Links Residents Association.

The interior of the building has been remodelled  to create a 62 square metre open space.

New flooring has also been laid, the ceiling replaced and new lighting fitted.

Pre-school manager, Donna Surridge, said the move will bring a much-needed return to normality, especially for the children.

She said: “Basildon Council has been fantastic over this.

“Its people have been mega-helpful and the decision to refurbish the community centre and give us a new home has meant we can provide the type of pre-school facilities our Five Links mums and dads really need.”

The residents association will still be able to use the facility in evenings and out of term time, but is looking for a new full-time base.

Councillor Terri Sargent, Basildon Council’s cabinet member for community and environment, said: “Ever since the fire, we made it a priority to find alternative accommodation for the groups using the community centre, so it’s gratifying to see Busy Bees can once again operate in a facility that’s fit for the children to use safely, especially as I know very well how much it’s valued by local people.

”The priority now, of course, is to work hard to find a long-term solution for providing community-led facilities at Five Links that’s acceptable to all the groups seeking permanent homes.”

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