Grenfell Early Years Consultation - responses to the feedback

Response to concerns and queries

Benefits for residents

“There needs to be enough benefits for the immediate residents to make this viable for us to agree with this otherwise it's No No.”

“Residents need to know what is on the table for them, your newsletter consultation only talks about how good your proposal is for yourselves not for us how even don't have children or people who won't use your service and please stop misusing the Grenfell name, you are a private company which unfortunately was located in the tower. RBKC must be held accountable no more land grabbing.”

A range of resident benefits and estate improvements have been discussed with the Lancaster West Residents’ Association and the Lancaster West Neighbourhood Team that would be delivered through the refurbishment of the Ilys Booker Centre. They include:

  • Favourable nursery rates for residents
  • Improve security and safety in the immediate area for the nursery and residents (to include CCTV, lighting and reduce motorbike use in the area)
  • Gated access for Verity Close and East Side (fob access) to improve security
  • Public realm improvements around Lower Clarendon Walk
  • Garden improvements for Talbot Grove House
  • Improvements to existing playgrounds in the immediate area
  • Lift access to Clarendon Walk
  • New windows for Clarendon Walk and Verity Close to address any increase in noise levels
  • Use of sustainable technology

“1. Double glazed windows for Clarendon Walk and Verity Close 2. Lift that serves Clarendon Walk residents 3. Free rates for children from the estate.”

As part of the proposed refurbishment of the Ilys Booker Centre the following improvements for the estate and benefits for residents would be provided:

  • New windows for homes in Clarendon Walk and Verity Close affected by any increase in noise levels from the nursery.
  • Lift access to Clarendon Walk for residents
  • Favourable nursery rates for families on the estate

“The nursery is not used by children from Grenfell Tower.”

The childcare services provided by Grenfell nursery were specifically set up to serve the Lancaster West estate community. Priority is given to families and residents on the estate, however the nursery has started to cater for children living locally in North Kensington aswell. At the time of the tragedy a number of families who lived in the tower used the nursery’s services, as well as other families across the estate.

Location of the nursery

“I don't agree with the plans at all. I would have like to see the nursery moved away, it is not conducive to being sited in a residential close. I would at least like the entrance moved to the opposite side, St Marks Road side. We have enough inconsiderate parking and noise from contractors, vans and their private cars.”

There are not many available sites in the area, but we did explore three other sites – the Tenants’ Resource Centre, a site within the St Francis of Assisi school site, and space within the Leisure Centre. A number of feasibility studies were undertaken to assess the potential of the different sites to accommodate a new nursery building. Following assessment of the various options, staying at the Ilys Booker Centre was deemed the most advantageous.

The Ilys Booker Centre has always been used for childcare services since the estate was built. The Centre was previously home to the Grenfell Early Years drop-in service before the nursery was temporarily located here after the tragedy. As an integral part of the Lancaster West community, it was felt important to keep Grenfell nursery on the estate. The proposed provision of high-quality facilities for Grenfell nursery is part of a wider need to provide enhanced childcare provision across the Lancaster West estate.

As part of the refurbishment of the Ilys Booker Centre gated access would be provided to Verity Close so that it would only be accessible to residents of the Close.

“A nursery should not be located below flats due to Health and Safety reasons. Children could potentially get hurt by falling objects or cigarettes from above.”

The site has always been used for childcare; the Grenfell Nursery has operated from the site for the past three years, the Stay & Play drop-in centre was there prior to this. The design improves upon the current nursery in terms of safety and overlooking from the flats above. The landscaping has been designed to put the pram and storage sheds along the building edge, this would provide a barrier and ‘catch’ any items accidentally knocked off of the balconies into the garden area. A permanent shading and privacy screen is designed over the under 2 year’s play area, shielding them from above. There are no flats directly above the play terrace.

Safety and security

“The pathway outside is used by motorbikes and is dangerous and unsafe for children.”

LWNT is aware of reports of scooters using some paths as a cut through the estate. Traffic calming measure can help reduce this and this could be incorporated in the external design element to make the area safer for nursery users. Additional enhancement such as

improved CCTV could also help to identify vehicles which are passed on to the police when reports are made.

“It is not an appropriate location for the nursery as there is drug dealing taking place regularly in the pathway outside.”

All reports are passed on to the local police team and LWNT has a positive relationship with the police. The police carry out uniformed and plain clothed patrols. We would encourage residents to pass on any information they have to us and/or the police to improve wider intelligence.

“The nursery currently is a hinderance to improving security and gating this part of the estate.”

There is a proposition to gating off Verity Close which is being explored and could be included in the external design scope for the nursery.

Noise and disruption

“The noise of the construction, from the nursery and the parents disrupting our peace with their noise and vehicles in our car park, as they do already (Verity Close).”

“Live in Verity Close and suffer the disruption, noise and smoking staff.” “High levels of disturbance during and after the proposed refurbishments.”

“The disruption and impact of this while it goes under destruction and construction also after it is built. Why should residents be the ones who suffer we have suffered enough.”

As part of the formal planning process, noise levels to do with any construction, and noise levels resulting from the use of the nursery will need to be factored in and approved. At early design stage, noise assessments would be undertaken to understand the general current level of noise at the site and in the area, and work carried out to forecast noise impacts both from construction, and the use of the nursery.

The design of the building and the works and equipment required to build the nursery would aim to minimise noise levels, and the project would need to adhere to all planning and statutory requirements. Proposed design measures to minimise noise and disruption would include:

  • use of prefabricated building elements
  • minimising ground works
  • careful timing of noisy works
  • liaison with local residents to ensure any potential issues are identified at the earliest stage

The team will be working closely with members of the Lancaster West Estate Neighbourhood Team to understand how the nursery work could be delivered, while the wider estate improvements get underway. The team is committed to ensuring a co- ordinated approach so that the sequencing and carrying out of works would minimise disruption to residents.

Parking issues

“We are told that the parents live on the estate, but everyone turns up in a car, parking in spaces, on double yellow lines, with music blaring often and engines idling. They see the close as an extension to nursery and it is very wrong. If they live in the area then they should have residents permits and park on the road. All you hear from that nursery is screaming and/or crying children. They don't even do music activities anymore. The outside area should be covered over in plastic or something to minimise noise, if no alternative is found.”

The refurbishment of the Ilys Booker Centre would include providing gated access to Verity Close so that it would only be accessible to residents of Verity Close at all times.

We acknowledge that the site is overlooked by adjacent homes and we would develop the design to minimise noise from the playground impacting on neighbouring residents.

As part of the proposed refurbishment of the Ilys Booker Centre we would propose to install new windows for homes in Clarendon Walk and Verity Close affected by any increase in noise levels from the nursery.

Tree removal

“My only concern is that the plans show the removal of a tree; is that really necessary?”

Unfortunately, the mature cherry tree on site cannot be kept due to its poor structural condition. Two independent tree surveys have been undertaken and both conclude that the tree has a significant bark wound that compromises its structural condition. Due to this, the tree has been classified as ‘Class U’ and thought not to last up to 10 years. Due to the proximity to the residential flats, the Nursery, and to St. Mark’s Children’s Home it is important that the tree is safely removed before its condition worsens.

Cost and prioritising repairs

“This nursery is in fact unaffordable for residents. Thus, I do not understand why it would be prioritised. Clarendon Walk is a building that need repairs.”

Grenfell nursery is committed to keeping their services local and accessible to families on the estate. The new nursery provision at the Ilys Booker Centre would provide favourable rates for all residents and families on the estate.

As a displaced long-standing tenant of the Tower, the Council has committed to providing Grenfell nursery with appropriate temporary accommodation. This will ensure that the nursery can continue to support the community by delivering an early years and childcare offer for which there is an identified local need.

Improvement works for Clarendon Walk are a priority and will be carried out as part of the Lancaster West Neighbourhood Team refurbishment programme for the estate. The refurbishment programme includes window replacement and improving the quality of residents’ homes to address existing problems. In summer 2020 residents identified what their priority choices were for improvements to their homes and blocks.

“Why are the homes in Verity Close being provided again with new double-glazed windows? This is the third time – we still have single-glazed windows. Is this the most effective use of the refurbishment budget?”

We are unable to comment on what has taken place previously but as part of the LWNT refurbishment programme, window replacement is part of the refurbishment and very much part of the plans in regards to sustainability and improving the quality of residents’ homes to address problems with heat, damp, etc. Window replacement, for some blocks, was also part of their priority choices.

Resident involvement

“Residents have not had an input or vote on whether the nursery is permanently located at the Ilys Booker Centre.”

Nothing has been decided, and we are consulting with residents to hear your views and thoughts on the nursery staying permanently at the Ilys Booker Centre.

Following a number of feasibility studies to explore different sites to accommodate a new nursery building, the nursery has expressed their wish to stay permanently at the Ilys Booker Centre. The centre has always been used for childcare provision. Upgrading the centre will bring the facilities up to the standard needed for delivering childcare in the 21st century.