Nursery school

A children’s nursery in Hertfordshire has had its claim for a certificate of lawfulness for the installation of a new modular building turned down, an inspector finding that the nursery was not a school for the purposes of Class M of Part 7 of Schedule 2 to the GPDO (DCS Number 400-017-867).

Part M, the inspector recorded, grants planning permission for the erection, extension or alteration of a school, college, university or hospital building. He ruled that “In the absence of any clear indication in the GPDO that the definition of “school” should be taken as including all registered nurseries, …. I consider that no such inference should be made.”

The council noted that Class M.1.(g)(i), so far as it concerns schools, college or university buildings, does not apply in any case unless the existing buildings are predominantly used for education. In light of this constraint, it argued that the predominant use of the existing buildings was for childcare, notwithstanding that the premises provided a certain amount of education, including pre-school classes. The inspector observed that, again, there is no clear definition of what the term “education” means in the context of Class M. However, he stated that had he been confident that the term “school” included registered nurseries generally for Class M purposes, he would have concluded that “early years provision” satisfied the relevant requirement.

So, the inspector was satisfied that the nursery was providing education, but nonetheless decided that it was not a school? How does that add up?

Part 7, Class M of the GPDO is set out at section 4.3426 of DCP Online and the planning considerations raised by day nurseries and playgroups are discussed at section 26.334.