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Hills Road day nursery approved by Cambridge City Council despite noise concerns

A new nursery providing care for 100 children has been given the go ahead in Cambridge city centre despite fears over noise and worries about accidents involving cars and cyclists.

A new children’s day nursery has been approved on the existing Faculty of Education car park north of Harrison Drive and west of the Donald MacIntyre Building in Hills Road.

Hills Road nursery (5833377)
Hills Road nursery (5833377)

According to a report which went before Cambridge City Council’s planning committee today (Wednesday, December 5): “The nursery would be a single-storey building, oriented along a north-south axis and located in the north-west part of the site, with outdoor play space on the east side and the approach drive, car and cycle parking spaces to the south. It would accommodate 100 children, and have a staff of 40.”

The report also says the outdoor play area will be surfaced in rubber and have an acoustic fence down the east side. Despite this, there are concerns about the impact of noise on residents living in the area.

Resident Dr Alan Baker said: “I accept this will have a clear noise impact on residents, and additional noise impact which will seriously disturb the tranquillity we enjoy as residents. We think there should be an acoustic fence of twice the thickness.”

Cllr Damien Tunnacliffe said the nursery would only have limited hours and would be closed during “long school holidays”. He said the sound of young children playing is nice, and “part of daily life” anyway.

Cllr Dave Baigent said he was “really concerned about the conflict” between people on bikes, pedestrians, and cars.

Cllr Carla McQueen said she was also concerned about cycling safety, and raised worries there could be accidents.

Hills Road nursery (5833375)
Hills Road nursery (5833375)

Cllr John Hipkin said he was worried about the size of the nursery and the number of children it expected to cater for. He said that, if it was to be providing spaces for up to 100 children, the current design might fall short of space standards, even if those children arrived in two groups for morning and afternoon sessions.

The plans were approved by the committee with six councillors voting in favour. Three councillors (Cllr Baigent, Cllr McQueen, and Cllr Katie Thornburrow) opposed the scheme. Cllr Hipkin abstained from the vote.

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