Plans to convert a disused nursery into 'poor quality' homes have been blocked in a bid to stop the loss of childcare facilities.

Applicant Denesh Marwaha applied to Havering Council in January to convert the former Ladybird Nursery at 11 Ryder Gardens, Rainham, into two flats.

But planning officers turned down his application on March 13, saying the council did not want to remove the site's ability to operate as a nursery - and criticising the 'poor quality' of accomodation.

The council said that since there was no realistic proposal to bring back the nursery, the plans would breach one of its Local Plan policies, which relates to the need to provide childcare facilities in Havering.

"If this planning application is approved, this will permanently remove the site's ability to operate as a nursery," the officer stated in the reasons for refusal.

"The proposed development would unacceptably result in the loss of critical social infrastructure (childcare facilities) within the borough," it added.

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Despite the council acknowledging that Ladybird Nursery is not currently operational, it said there was a "demonstrated need" for the provision in Havering.

Mr Marwaha's plans would have converted the building into a two-bed flat and a one-bed flat.

In a supporting statement from Scene Architects, it was argued the development would provide "high quality" homes to contribute to the housing requirement for the area.

It added that the nursery is unused and has been since January 2023, motivating the need for a change of use.

"The change of use will see less traffic and noise in the area and for local neighbours," the architect added. "The proposal takes into consideration the local aesthetic [look] and residential character."

But in the council officer's report, the proposed development was criticised for lacking in all key aspects of sustainable development.

"The proposed development is unacceptable in regard to its resultant impact on character, poor quality accommodation and impacts on living standards for existing and future residents," the report stated.

Track the progress of this application using reference code P0028.24 on Havering Council's planning website.