Broken windows at council-owned building '˜could see Northampton nursery close'

A Northampton nursery will be forced to close in July if smashed windows that have been boarded up for three years are not fixed, its manager has claimed.

Thursday, 17th March 2016, 6:25 am
Updated Friday, 18th March 2016, 11:04 am

Standens Barn Community Centre in Topwell Court, which is owned by Northampton Borough Council, has suffered repeated vandalism and break-ins since 2013.

Despite an overhaul of the interior by volunteers last year, most of the windows have been smashed and remain boarded up.

Sandra Renda, who manages Standens Barn Pre-school from the building, said prospective parents are put off by the depressed exterior, and it is threatening the nursery’s future.

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She said: “To be honest, it looks like a prison and you can see the looks on their faces when they arrive.

“We’re a handful of children short of the number we need to be eligible for a Government grant, and at the moment it looks unlikely we’ll get there.

“If we don’t get that money, we’ll be shut by September.”

The pre-school’s last chance to apply for the grant is July. But, according to Mrs Renda, it is a wrangle between the council and Community Spaces - the charity that runs the building - that is not allowing the building to be seen in its best light.

Community Spaces is responsible for repairing the windows - and has fixed six of them - but says the council must complete the installation of a security fence before it can finish the job.

Toby Birch, the charity’s chairman, said: “There is no point in us fixing the windows only for the vandals to get into the site and break them all over again.

“We have asked the council to finish the fence that they started last October.”

Following a call from the Chron, a council maintenance worker visited the site yesterday.

A council spokeswoman said: “Community Spaces Northampton has let us know that the site is still being vandalised and, as a result, we have asked our contractors to visit the site today to check the security of the fence.”