One of Britain’s top-rated nurseries could be forced to close, leaving more than 30 families without childcare.
Well, because they didn’t consider the small print:
Piplings is one of many businesses in Forest Hill covered by a 1938 covenant that states no trade can operate from a domestic propertyexcept doctors, dentists and lawyers.The antiquated rule affects properties on the Tewksbury Lodge Estate where a number of neighbours are taking legal action against the family-run nursery.
Citing “noise” and “inconvenience”, they say it is in breach of the covenant and must close.
Which has led to much wailing and gnashing of teeth on various forums. The Smart Set are simply Outraged! that anyone could object to their kiddiewinks, of course.
If their case succeeds it is feared it would set a precedent affecting up to 100 other home-run firms, such as music teachers, child-minders and consultants.
Who, presumably, also didn’t read the small print?
Piplings was set up by Emma Lee, 36, and husband Philip, 50, in Liphook Crescent in 2010, with planning permission from Lewisham council. Last June Ofsted rated it outstanding and placed it in the top one per cent of nurseries.Mrs Lee, who has three children aged under four, said: “It is outrageous that a nursery which provides a good service to the community can be victimised by a few neighbours with nothing but a chip on their shoulder.”
Aha, there you go – if you consider that you provide ‘a good service to the community’ then – regardless of what the community actually thinks – you should not be held to the same laws! And if people complain about noise and disruption, you can just tell them to shut up…
In May or June Central London County Court is set to hear the neighbours’ application for the covenant to be enforced. The couple say they have already paid almost £70,000 in legal fees.
Given what nurseries can make, what’s that? A month’s profit?
Nursery supporters are trying to persuade the neighbours, who are backed by the local residents’ association, to stop legal action, and have set up a petition at friendsofpiplings.wordpress.com.
How, exactly, are they trying to ‘persuade’ them? Offering to soundproof the nursery? Ensuring no traffic nuisance is caused?
Oh, wait. This is what they mean by ‘persuasion’, isn’t it? This little attempt to drum up publicity and support? The sort of ‘persuasion’ the Mafia were pretty good at…
A Lewisham council spokesman said that when planning permission was granted “councillors considered a nursery would have little impact on the environment and be beneficial to the community“.”A restricted covenant… was relatively common in the Thirties. This covenant only applies to the Tewkesbury Lodge Estate. It is a matter for estate residents not the council.”
Neatly washing their hands and staying well away!
Let’s take a look at their website, shall we?
…because of a stoking of local fears that this is a business ”thin end of the wedge”, it’s direct neighbour downhill has chosen to use an antiquated 1938 restrictive covenant stating that as the nursery is not a Dentist, or a Doctor, or a Solicitor, they are in breach of that covenant and that therefore, the neighbour states, the nursery must immediately close! These fears and the neighbour’s actions clearly go against all common sense and our modern community values.
Some part of the ‘community’ objects to your presence. You could perhaps have ameliorated this by showing some concessions, by talking to them, when you realised you were the ones in the wrong, as far as the legalities went.
That you chose to immediately wrap yourself in the Flag of Indignation and wave the Banner of Victimhood doesn’t make me think very kindly of you….