AN ‘IMMINENT’ shortage of nursery places could lead to lack of childcare in Stratford.
The concerns have been raised by county councillor Jenny Fradgley on the back of government plans to offer 30 hours of free childcare a week instead of the current 15 hours.
Warwickshire County Council has revealed Stratford is one of the areas which will struggle with the increase.
A council report looking at the impact of the rise in the town says childcare businesses struggle to set up in the town due to high costs and difficulty finding a location because of congested roads at peak times.
Council officers also think a high demand for 30 hours childcare will use up any available spaces and housing growth – with 14,600 homes set to be built over the coming years – meaning there will be added pressure.
The report read: “We expect an imminent shortage of places in Stratford as there will be a high demand for 30 hours childcare, and this will use up any spare capacity.
“Housing growth will add a significant amount of pressure for places. Much of the rural area on the outskirts of the reach has no childcare places, and demand in smaller hamlets would not be sufficient to establish standalone childcare.”
County councillor Jenny Fradgley is concerned about the plans for extra childcare and will be working to ensure a solution is made.
She told the Observer: “The council has identified Stratford town and the surrounding villages as areas where there could be difficulty in meeting this target by next September.
“I know some parents are having trouble getting the hours they want for their children and I’ll be pressing the council to make sure everything possible is being done to provide the places needed. Parents need to know
now whether child care will be available in September – which is just three months away.”