Nursery forced to ban kids from playing outside as neighbours complain about 'shrieking' children
11 November 2019, 18:01
Winton House in Cheltenham also has to keep windows closed in the baby unit to reduce noise.
A nursery has been banned from opening windows and letting large groups of children play outside after neighbours complained about "shrieking" pupils.
Winton House Day Nursery in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, received a string of grievances from a nearby resident who said they were fed up with "noisy" kids disturbing their "peace and quiet".
Planners have since enforced the rule that no more than five pre-schoolers are allowed to go out in the 300 square metre garden at once.
The nursery, which caters to little ones from birth right through to five years old, has also been told that windows need to remain shut at all times in an attempt to keep noise levels low.
But bosses at Winton House have hit back and are now applying to have up to 12 children outside at once, claiming the restrictions are impractical and tricky to manage.
Employees have also asked permission to open nine of the windows in the six-room baby unit on the first floor.
The requests have been met with three more complaints from neighbours who have written to Cheltenham Borough Council to object.
"Unfortunately when we sit in the garden our pleasure is greatly diminished by the noise of shrieking children," wrote one complainant.
"We appreciate that there is a need for nurseries but surely a business such as this would be better sited in an area of family homes. We feel that it is rather unfair that we cannot enjoy peace and quiet in our own garden."
A second resident, who has lived on Warden Hill Road for 19 years, added: "The proposal to more than double the number of children in the garden does worry us.
"It must be that noise levels will increase substantially and we cannot see that it would be possible or desirable to ask carers to quieten their children in any way."
The letter also stated: "The words quoted from the application, put in simple lay terms, are saying that expansion equals more children, equals more noise, equals the need to reduce residential amenity to accommodate the increased noise.
"The logic is one-sided and is unreasonable. The currently acceptable situation will deteriorate. Clearly 12 children will make far more noise than five."
However, Winton House responded by saying: "The children who attend Winton Day Nursery are, by virtue of their age and sociability, not excessively loud.
"Any potential noise source, ie babies crying, is not sustained, as it is the job of a nursery to retain a peaceful environment.
"Furthermore, by virtue of their age, the babies have scheduled nap times during the nursery’s opening hours."
This was backed up by the nursery's next door neighbour, who fought in their defence, saying: "Throughout the summer I have the windows open and so am as directly impacted by noise from the nursery and their gardens as anyone could be.
"The noise in the day from the garden is very light, there is a background sound of children playing which is nice and barely noticeable.
"This never disturbs me working in the office and I can’t recall a single time when I have been inconvenienced or annoyed by the noise."