Severn Beach children’s centre takes shape

The £300K development of a children’s centre at Severn Beach Primary School has reached two huge milestones.

Not only has planning permission recently been granted to landscape some of the school grounds to create a children’s play area, but this week has seen work finish on the main internal re-modelling work needed to create the children’s centre.

Internal re-modelling work has been carried out to create an office, a large multi-purpose room, a kitchen, baby change unit and new toilets.

Externally, planning permission was given on 6 August for the creation of a children’s activity area, including a sandpit (alongside the school), a den (enclosed by timber fencing), two willow tunnels, a post and canopy shelter, a sound tube running between the den and shelter, as well as a meandering limestone pathway to link it all.

Parents and pupils at Severn Beach have expressed their delight with the new investment because there have long been concerns that Severn Beach primary school will lose out once Pilning’s brand new St Peter’s primary school has been built.

Early in 2007 and before the Conservatives began running South Gloucestershire Council as a minority administration, a campaign petition was started by local campaigner, Robert Griffin, in order to secure funding for a major upgrade of Severn Beach primary school.

Although the campaign was backed by Conservative councillors, when they came to propose the funding for a significant £207,000 upgrade at a council budget meeting in February 2007, Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors voted against the investment.

However, the funding was later pushed through in July 2007 – weeks after the Conservative administration assumed control of the ‘hung’ council.

Cllr Sheila Cook (Con, Almondsbury), Executive Member for Children and Young People comments:

“I am pleased that we can demonstrate progress in developing Severn Beach’s new children centre.

Essentially we have completed the main internal re-modelling works and now have planning permission to start the external landscaping that will create an exciting new children’s activity area at the school.

Once it has been completed this new children’s centre will enable local families to access services more easily and it will give the school a real boost.”

Local campaigner Robert Griffin added:

“Whilst it is fantastic that the council is investing in a brand new state-of-the-art school in Pilning, there is a lot of concern in the Severn Beach community that the new St Peter’s school will have a knock-on impact on Severn Beach primary.

However, this new children’s centre coupled with the council investment that has been made in the last couple of years should help to allay some of these local concerns.”

Sure Start children’s centres provide a range of services, such as advice and information for parents on a whole range of issues, health visitor support, training for parents on issues such as parenting, breastfeeding etc., and play and stay provision for mother and toddler groups.

The completion of the children’s centre at Severn Beach Primary School will release the existing Mobile Children’s Centre to cover the rural villages in the wards of Boyd Valley, Bitton and Siston.

Source: Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council

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