Jobs at risk as Cromer pre-school faces prospect of being made homeless

Naomi Barron, owner and manager of Gnomes Preschool in Cromer

Naomi Barron, owner and manager of Gnomes Preschool in Cromer - Credit: Archant

Public appeal has been launched to find Gnomes new accommodation.

Gnomes Preschool in Cromer

Gnomes Preschool in Cromer - Credit: Archant

A pre-school in Cromer which supports families on low incomes is facing closure with the loss of five jobs - unless it can find a new home fast.

Gnomes Preschool has been asked to move out of its current home of four years - the Sea Scouts Hall in the town's Overstrand Road - next month.

But searches for alternative accommodation have so far failed.

Naomi Barron, owner and manager of Gnomes, said: 'We were gutted when we found out because it is a lovely space and we were settled but, if it's time to move on, it's time to move on.

Gnomes Preschool in Cromer

Gnomes Preschool in Cromer - Credit: Archant


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'We can't take on any more children until the situation is resolved and parents are already starting to panic because of the uncertainty.

'The worry is we will have to close and all our hard work will be lost. I have five members of staff, including myself, and those jobs would go.'

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Gnomes, which can accommodate up to 20 children a session, started in Northrepps 12 years ago and previously met in the primary school there until it started up its own preschool.

It wants to remain in Cromer but needs somewhere with an indoor space and toilet facilities or a plot of land suitable for a portakabin or storage container and secure outdoor space.

Naomi said: 'We do need the outdoor area because it's an Ofsted stipulation. It doesn't have to be as big as this, or we need a bit of land that we can put a garden house or building on.

'We can't afford a lot because we're a preschool that likes to cater for low-income families so we like to keep our costs low because our fees - £16.25 a day - are the lowest in the area.'

Naomi revealed she has written numerous letters for help but only had three replies - all rejections.

The preschool, one of only three in the area, is currently open Monday to Friday, from 8.30am to 4.30pm.

Naomi said: 'We break for the holidays only because we can't have the building during the holiday times because the Sea Scouts have camping and things here.'

But she added: 'We have to be out for the end of the summer term which is about July 18.'

The Scouts revealed they want to reclaim their hall from a sea of toys and claimed it was only ever meant to be a temporary move.

Chairman Hilary Cox, who represents Cromer on North Norfolk District Council, said: 'It looked more like a playgroup than a (Sea Scouts) hut and that wasn't really conducive to a hut.'

But she added: 'They've got plenty children and I think it's growing, so it's important for that end of Cromer to have a nursery.'

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