Nursery’s compensation fight over footbridge

Andrea Leonard, from Childfirst Day Nursery in Bicester, with children, from left, Tessa Hart, three, Lorelai Hubbard, four, and Ollie Wickens, three, next to the bridge. Picture: OX67895 Simon Williams

Andrea Leonard, from Childfirst Day Nursery in Bicester, with children, from left, Tessa Hart, three, Lorelai Hubbard, four, and Ollie Wickens, three, next to the bridge. Picture: OX67895 Simon Williams Buy this photo

First published in News

A NURSERY has demanded compensation measures after concerns a “monster” bridge is affecting its business.

Parents threatened to pull their children out of Childfirst Nursery, in Launton Road, Bicester, after the giant footbridge was built over the May 5 Bank Holiday weekend.

Manager Andrea Leonard said people can stand on the bridge and look into the play area and building, and a vegetable garden is now completely out of bounds to youngsters.

Mrs Leonard wants the rail organisation to pay for the over-looked area to be moved to the other side of the building. She was told it would cost £180,000. But Network Rail has so far refused the plan, and instead wants to erect a canopy and screening on the bridge costing about £260,000.

Mrs Leonard fears long-term the bridge could blight the business and said screening it would just mask the problem.

Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Martin Crabtree said: “The details of the layout, scale, appearance and external materials also have to be submitted to the Local Planning Authority and approved.

Network Rail is in discussions with both Cherwell and Oxfordshire councils.”

  • A meeting between all parties was due to take place on Thursday to discuss concerns.

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Comments (9)

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6:03am Sat 21 Jun 14

Dilligaf2010 says...

I can't believe they're still making a fuss about the footbridge.
If anyone was that interested in seeing the kids, they would have been trying different methods for years, I'm sure there's a few holes in that fence, for a start.
The children that attend this playgroup aren't any different to others, why is she so convinced people are going to take a special interest in them?
Somebody needs to have a reality check, and come down from cloud cuckoo-land.
I can't believe they're still making a fuss about the footbridge. If anyone was that interested in seeing the kids, they would have been trying different methods for years, I'm sure there's a few holes in that fence, for a start. The children that attend this playgroup aren't any different to others, why is she so convinced people are going to take a special interest in them? Somebody needs to have a reality check, and come down from cloud cuckoo-land. Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 5

8:05am Sat 21 Jun 14

mytaxes says...

No wonder adults are even afraid to smile at children nowadays. If this woman is so worried why does she and the parents allow photographs of their children in the newspaper, or is it all about money and compensation?
No wonder adults are even afraid to smile at children nowadays. If this woman is so worried why does she and the parents allow photographs of their children in the newspaper, or is it all about money and compensation? mytaxes
  • Score: 7

1:15pm Sat 21 Jun 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

mytaxes wrote:
No wonder adults are even afraid to smile at children nowadays. If this woman is so worried why does she and the parents allow photographs of their children in the newspaper, or is it all about money and compensation?
It's all about the money. Otherwise the values wouldn't have been mentioned in the paper.

The odd thing is, whilst the "Manager" has appeared across many media outlets, I haven't spotted the actual owners of the business in the media.

Given that the demand for nursery places generally exceeds supply, I'd be surprised if there were vacant places for long.
[quote][p][bold]mytaxes[/bold] wrote: No wonder adults are even afraid to smile at children nowadays. If this woman is so worried why does she and the parents allow photographs of their children in the newspaper, or is it all about money and compensation?[/p][/quote]It's all about the money. Otherwise the values wouldn't have been mentioned in the paper. The odd thing is, whilst the "Manager" has appeared across many media outlets, I haven't spotted the actual owners of the business in the media. Given that the demand for nursery places generally exceeds supply, I'd be surprised if there were vacant places for long. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 1

2:39pm Sat 21 Jun 14

scampbird says...

You patronising lot could try putting yourself in their shoes, where an ugly (and it is wilfully ugly) bridge overlooking you is built with little to no consultation.
You patronising lot could try putting yourself in their shoes, where an ugly (and it is wilfully ugly) bridge overlooking you is built with little to no consultation. scampbird
  • Score: -2

2:47pm Sat 21 Jun 14

scampbird says...

Speaking of consultation, and since the advertiser hasn't opened comments on it - the Bicester town centre hotel farce, which the town council objected to, is still going ahead regardless. Second time in as many weeks Cherwell have just ridden roughshod over democracy.
Speaking of consultation, and since the advertiser hasn't opened comments on it - the Bicester town centre hotel farce, which the town council objected to, is still going ahead regardless. Second time in as many weeks Cherwell have just ridden roughshod over democracy. scampbird
  • Score: -1

5:31pm Sat 21 Jun 14

MissSmith80 says...

I attended the open day at the nursery last weekend. They appeared to have already put up screens in the windows of affected rooms which allow you to see out but not in.
It seems like an over reaction to either rebuild that end of the nursery or put a canopy on the bridge when clearly all that needs to be done in move what appear to be a couple of small vegetable patches into their main garden.
Furthermore moving the nursery buildings surely does not solve the problem of members of the public being able to overlook the garden from the main height of the bridge over the rail tracks.

This ridiculous reaction does seem to be all about the money and I wouldn't be surprised if the manager was using this as an opportunity to build something far bigger than the building it replaces as a chance to use someone else's money for the expansion of her business.
I attended the open day at the nursery last weekend. They appeared to have already put up screens in the windows of affected rooms which allow you to see out but not in. It seems like an over reaction to either rebuild that end of the nursery or put a canopy on the bridge when clearly all that needs to be done in move what appear to be a couple of small vegetable patches into their main garden. Furthermore moving the nursery buildings surely does not solve the problem of members of the public being able to overlook the garden from the main height of the bridge over the rail tracks. This ridiculous reaction does seem to be all about the money and I wouldn't be surprised if the manager was using this as an opportunity to build something far bigger than the building it replaces as a chance to use someone else's money for the expansion of her business. MissSmith80
  • Score: 4

6:08pm Sat 21 Jun 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

scampbird wrote:
You patronising lot could try putting yourself in their shoes, where an ugly (and it is wilfully ugly) bridge overlooking you is built with little to no consultation.
Absolute nonsense...

Have you even checked the sheer amount of paperwork that had to be prepared and promulgated prior to the bridge being built?

If it was that bad - why are so many "Activists" in Oxford demanding that a ramped bridge (that will be near enough identical) should be built at 3 different sites between Hinksey and Port Meadow?
[quote][p][bold]scampbird[/bold] wrote: You patronising lot could try putting yourself in their shoes, where an ugly (and it is wilfully ugly) bridge overlooking you is built with little to no consultation.[/p][/quote]Absolute nonsense... Have you even checked the sheer amount of paperwork that had to be prepared and promulgated prior to the bridge being built? If it was that bad - why are so many "Activists" in Oxford demanding that a ramped bridge (that will be near enough identical) should be built at 3 different sites between Hinksey and Port Meadow? Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 4

6:15pm Sun 22 Jun 14

tired99 says...

MissSmith80 wrote:
I attended the open day at the nursery last weekend. They appeared to have already put up screens in the windows of affected rooms which allow you to see out but not in.
It seems like an over reaction to either rebuild that end of the nursery or put a canopy on the bridge when clearly all that needs to be done in move what appear to be a couple of small vegetable patches into their main garden.
Furthermore moving the nursery buildings surely does not solve the problem of members of the public being able to overlook the garden from the main height of the bridge over the rail tracks.

This ridiculous reaction does seem to be all about the money and I wouldn't be surprised if the manager was using this as an opportunity to build something far bigger than the building it replaces as a chance to use someone else's money for the expansion of her business.
I agree. I think that this is an excuse for the nursery to be given relocation compensation. Once the new rail link opens there will be up to 4 trains an hour passing within a few metres of the building. At the end of the day this is an old industrial unit and from the outside does not look well looked after.
[quote][p][bold]MissSmith80[/bold] wrote: I attended the open day at the nursery last weekend. They appeared to have already put up screens in the windows of affected rooms which allow you to see out but not in. It seems like an over reaction to either rebuild that end of the nursery or put a canopy on the bridge when clearly all that needs to be done in move what appear to be a couple of small vegetable patches into their main garden. Furthermore moving the nursery buildings surely does not solve the problem of members of the public being able to overlook the garden from the main height of the bridge over the rail tracks. This ridiculous reaction does seem to be all about the money and I wouldn't be surprised if the manager was using this as an opportunity to build something far bigger than the building it replaces as a chance to use someone else's money for the expansion of her business.[/p][/quote]I agree. I think that this is an excuse for the nursery to be given relocation compensation. Once the new rail link opens there will be up to 4 trains an hour passing within a few metres of the building. At the end of the day this is an old industrial unit and from the outside does not look well looked after. tired99
  • Score: -3

6:50pm Thu 26 Jun 14

Child First Tom says...

Hello, One from the owner... If you know the inside of the nursery you will see what an effort the manager Andrea has made to make this a special place for all children.

Let me first of all say that this built 30cm from your boundary over a Bank Holiday Weekend may have surprised and upset you. When we met with Network Rail EVERYBODY agreed there was a problem. That's why the scaffold and plastic wrapping has gone up.

The proposal from Network Rail was (and indeed is) to screen the whole of the bridge and the to provide a cover to prevent things being thrown into our garden. Our concern was (and is) that providing the screen will in fact create different issues for the local people and a perfect shelter for all manner of things. We proposed moving our building out of the way to open the whole end of that site so the police and users CAN see what is going on.

The Network Rail Proposals, we were told were in excess of £200,000 - of taxpayers money (and yes we do pay tax!) and our proposal was £180k and NO IT WAS NOT to increase, it was to replace, and no it would not increase the size of the building.

We are a tiny company and I have been working with and for children for 40 plus years. We are not the bully boys you seem to suggest, nor are we penny grabbing.

We have invested 7 years and many hundreds of thousands of pounds taking what was a poor Preparatory School into a well respected and well run local facility for over 200 working parents (not all full time!) and created 26 new jobs (there were 6 staff when we bought the school and site)...

By all means speculate - but if you want to hear what the horse says, come to the horses mouth...

As it goes we will not put children at risk, we will continue to look at our options and, as I am sure you all would, consider what to do when a 40ft £2.5 million monstrosity appears a foot away from your back garden....
Hello, One from the owner... If you know the inside of the nursery you will see what an effort the manager Andrea has made to make this a special place for all children. Let me first of all say that this built 30cm from your boundary over a Bank Holiday Weekend may have surprised and upset you. When we met with Network Rail EVERYBODY agreed there was a problem. That's why the scaffold and plastic wrapping has gone up. The proposal from Network Rail was (and indeed is) to screen the whole of the bridge and the to provide a cover to prevent things being thrown into our garden. Our concern was (and is) that providing the screen will in fact create different issues for the local people and a perfect shelter for all manner of things. We proposed moving our building out of the way to open the whole end of that site so the police and users CAN see what is going on. The Network Rail Proposals, we were told were in excess of £200,000 - of taxpayers money (and yes we do pay tax!) and our proposal was £180k and NO IT WAS NOT to increase, it was to replace, and no it would not increase the size of the building. We are a tiny company and I have been working with and for children for 40 plus years. We are not the bully boys you seem to suggest, nor are we penny grabbing. We have invested 7 years and many hundreds of thousands of pounds taking what was a poor Preparatory School into a well respected and well run local facility for over 200 working parents (not all full time!) and created 26 new jobs (there were 6 staff when we bought the school and site)... By all means speculate - but if you want to hear what the horse says, come to the horses mouth... As it goes we will not put children at risk, we will continue to look at our options and, as I am sure you all would, consider what to do when a 40ft £2.5 million monstrosity appears a foot away from your back garden.... Child First Tom
  • Score: 8

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