Increased Childcare Support and Nursery Annexes, A Guide for Nursery Owners

Nursery and School Annexes

The UK government’s recent announcement regarding increased childcare support is fantastic news for working families. However, it presents a challenge for nursery owners who are already facing capacity issues. This blog post will explore the changes, the anticipated rise in demand for nursery places, and how a detached cabin can be a solution. We’ll also delve into the planning permission process for these additional buildings.

Changes to Childcare Support Allowance

In summary, the changes that will be made to the existing childcare arrangements are:

  • From April 2024, eligible working parents with children aged 2 years old will have access to 15 hours of free childcare support.
  • From September 2024, eligible working parents with children aged 9 months to 3 years old will have access to free 15 hours of childcare support.
  • From September 2025, eligible working parents with children aged 9 months up to school age will have access to 30 hours of free childcare support a week.

These changes are set to save parents, who are currently using their maximum childcare allowance, up to £6,900 per year.

The Rise in Demand for Nursery Places

With the introduction of 30 hours of free childcare support for eligible families with children under 5, a significant increase in demand for nursery places is expected. This means many nurseries that are already operating at or near capacity may struggle to accommodate new children. This could leave parents facing difficulties and frustrations securing placements for their children.

Nursery Cabins as a Solution

One effective solution to address the capacity issue is the construction of detached cabins. These additional outbuildings built within the existing nursery grounds can provide much-needed extra space. This allows nurseries to expand their capacity and accommodate more children, ensuring they can meet the rising demand.

Planning Permission for Detached Cabins

Since day nurseries fall under planning use class E(f), they don’t benefit from standard permitted development rights for extensions under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order (GPDO) 2015.

This means obtaining planning permission is usually necessary for constructing a cabin. The planning permission process typically involves submitting a full planning application to the local planning authority.

The Full Planning Application

A full planning application requires various documents, including a completed application form, detailed plans and drawings of the proposed annexe, and a planning, design, and access statement. This statement should clearly explain the rationale behind the development, demonstrating how it aligns with local planning policies and relevant considerations.

Permitted Development

If you are a nursery that is owned and operated by a Local Authority, then you may be able to erect a cabin under permitted development rights and not need to apply for planning permission.

Schedule 2, Part 12 (Class A) of the General Permitted Development Order allows a Local Authority to construct any small ancillary outbuilding on land belonging to or maintained by them required for the purposes of any function exercised by them.

The legislation clarifies what a “small ancillary outbuilding” would be. A building not exceeding 4 metres in height or 200 cubic metres in capacity.

If you comply with the above, then you may be able to site a cabin within your nursery grounds without the need for planning permission.

Seeking Expert Help

The increased childcare support is a positive development for families, but it creates a challenge for nurseries. Nursery cabins offer a viable solution to expand capacity and meet the growing demand for places. By seeking expert assistance, nursery owners can ensure a smooth and successful application for their cabin project.

If you need help with your cabin planning application, we recommend that you get in touch with NAPC, who are our trusted partners for cabin planning applications. NAPC boasts extensive experience securing planning permission for ancillary buildings, including nursery cabins. Their team of experts can navigate the intricacies of the planning process, guiding you every step of the way. By working with NAPC, you can ensure a smooth and successful application, allowing you to focus on what matters most – providing excellent childcare.

Together, let’s create a brighter future for children and families in your com