The independent London newspaper

Curious incident of the nursery building

16 January, 2020 — By John Gulliver

The Hive building on Alexandra Road estate – often known as Rowley Way

A MYSTERY still hangs over the new children’s nursery – run by a private company – at the Alexandra Road estate, despite investigations by the tenants.

They have prised from the council, through a Freedom of Information request, basic facts that makes the whole story more and more curious.

In its reply, the council informs the tenants that the Town Hall spent roughly £222,000 on refurbishing a disused building – known as The Hive – that a company called Abbey Road Nursery Ltd had made a successful bid for.

The council gave a 10-year lease to the nursery at an annual rental of £25,000.

That means the Town Hall doesn’t recoup its capital investment for the first eight years or so. Not a very good deal. Wasn’t it possible to charge, say, £30,000 rental?

The mystery deepens when you consider that the nursery has still not opened its doors to the public. Apparently, it still requires an Ofsted certificate while decorative work at the nursery proceeds.

So, a building on the estate that the tenants believe they could have made use of for the community is not available to them. Meanwhile, the council has spent more than a quarter of a million pounds on it, and yet it still remains unused, years after it was put “on the market”, as it were, by the council.


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