Steve Barclay MP welcomes reprieve after speaking out on behalf of Local Childminding business

Childminding business in Glenfields Whittlesey.

Childminding business in Glenfields Whittlesey. - Credit: Archant

Steve Barclay MP has welcomed Fenland District Council’s decision not to force the closure of a Whittlesey childminding business that failed to get planning permission last month.

Mr Barclay intervened to ensure that an enforcement notice would not be served on Andy and Wendy Whitwell before the couple make a second application for retrospective consent.

The North East Cambs MP wrote to the council’s senior planning officer seeking assurances that the business, which has been providing childcare services to young pupils and their families for 11 years, would not face imminent closure. The couple have been given 28 days to resubmit their application.

The council rejected the original planning application after three residents of Glenfields complained about noise levels from the business.

But a petition has been signed by other neighbours, calling for the retention of the service, and there has been support from Whittlesey Town Council.

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Mrs Whitwell said: “I can’t thank Steve enough. We’re absolutely thrilled with the decision and have been overwhelmed by the community’s support. Hopefully if we all work together we can continue to run our childminding service, which we absolutely love and adore.”

Mr Barclay said: “ It is great news that the council has responded so pro actively to local residents’ support for Mr and Mrs Whitwell’s appeal for retrospective planning permission in order to keep their childminding business open.

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“They have over a decade of experience caring for local children and providing a valued service to their parents. Their services are rated outstanding by OFSTED and the prospect of them having to close their doors will not only be hugely upsetting for them, but also for their families and the local children who rely on them and appreciate the work they do.

“Ultimately, once the new application has been submitted, the council will need to balance the small number of complaints they have received with the wider community support for the business from Whittlesey town councillors, the head teacher of Park Lane Primary School, and a number of other neighbours who have signed a petition in protest at the potential closure.

“It is right that elected district Councillors make this decision and not officials under delegated powers.”

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