Empty 150-year-old Battersea church could be turned into nursery

Former Battersea Spiritualist Church, Bennerley Road, Battersea, Wandsworth
-Credit: (Image: Google Maps)

Plans have been submitted to convert an empty 150-year-old church in London's 'Nappy Valley' into a nursery. Private chain Linden Tree Nursery Schools wants to open a fifth site at the former Battersea Baptist Church, in Battersea, under the scheme.

The plans, if approved by Wandsworth Council, would not see any structural changes to the church on Bennerley Road. The proposed nursery would be for 40 kids aged three and four years old.

Full-day sessions would begin at 8am and finish by 6pm, while a trial short daycare service from 8.30am to 4.30pm would initially be offered to around half of the kids to support parents working from home. Parents would be banned from dropping their kids off in the car.

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The proposed works, expected to take around 16 weeks, include redecorating the building inside, replacing the existing false ceiling to bring in more natural light, revamping the windows and replacing the kitchen and bathroom facilities.

A wooden shelter would also be built in front of the building to store bins, while a play area would be created inside. The kids would walk to Wandsworth Common at least once a day as the site does not have an outside area big enough for play.

Wandsworth Town Hall, Wandsworth, South London
Wandsworth Council will decide on the plans in due course -Credit:Google Maps

A report submitted with the application said the church was built around 1868 and likely remained a 'lively and much-loved meeting place for a large part of the intervening 150 years', but it has been empty for at least the past 18 months.

It said opening at the empty site would allow Linden Tree Nursery Schools to meet the 'growing demand for nursery places' as it has experienced 'consistent demand' since opening its first nursery 20 years ago, with a waiting list of a year or more for many applicants. The chain now has four nursery schools locally and 70 staff.

The report added: "The... Nappy Valley area is often mentioned in population statistics as the highest density of under four-year-olds in Europe. We would plan to move some children from our Webbs Road nursery allowing us to reduce the pressure on that site.

"The nursery will also allow us to further develop the training and research work that we have commenced in more recent years from our centre for learning and development at our Old Town nursery."

Wandsworth Council will decide on the plans in due course.

Got a story? Email charlotte.lillywhite@reachplc.com.

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