A NURSERY can begin its expansion to allow it to cater for more children, after a planning inspector rejected a decision by Oxford City Council.

Little Troopers, based in Stanley Road, was refused planning permission by the council in April last year as the authority was worried how expansion would affect its housing stock.

The nursery appealed the decision and last month the ruling by the Planning Inspectorate means the nursery is now able to refurbish and expand into the top two floors of the building.

When the work is over, the nursery will be able to almost double the number of children between the ages of 11 months and five, it can care for, from 20 to 36.

The council’s worries over housing centred on a bedroom for staff on an upstairs floor of the building but as it is not a self-contained flat, the inspector David Leeming said it would have no impact on housing stock in the city as he overruled the decision.

Oxford City Council was also concerned what impact the expansion would have on traffic.

Nursery director Rebecca Warner said it had been a worrying eight months waiting for the appeal decision.

Work on the £50,000 expansion will take place over the next five months and the nursery hopes to start taking in more children in April.

Mrs Warner said: “It has been tough. The staff have always been supportive and on board with the plan for the last two and a half years when we were first thinking about this.

“It has been difficult for all of us since we were refused planning permission by the city council.

“But we have been trying to keep momentum up during that time and the inspector visited us in December and three days later told us he was going to overturn the decision made by the city council.

“The comments by the council about housing stock didn’t make sense, because it can’t be used by anyone other than staff and it has never been used on a long-term basis by any staff because they all have other places to live.

“They can use it as and when, but that will carry on with the expansion.”

Mr Leeming added there was a “significant shortfall” of places for two-year-olds and the plans would not create “undue parking difficulties” in the area.

The nursery is currently spread over two floors of the building but will now expand into the top two floors.