PLANS to build a day nursery in Wylam have been met with stiff opposition from local residents.

The plans have been submitted by Stocksfield resident Matthew Jefferson, who wants to change a garage to the east of Falcon Terrace in Wylam into a nursery, with a single-storey extension and staff parking.

The application, which falls on green belt land, has attracted 59 objections from residents, mainly concerning the environmental impact and an increase in traffic along nearby Falcon Terrace and Stephenson Terrace.

Objector Daniel George wrote: “As residents of Falcon Terrace, we are concerned regarding the potential for increased traffic along the street.

“The area of the proposed site is located within the designated green belt area.

“If the proposed development is agreed then it may lead the way to further creep of development into the green belt area.

Wylam Parish Council has also objected to the plans, and at its meeting last Wednesday around 25 residents packed into a small room at the Wylam Institute to register their opposition against the proposed scheme.

Chairman Coun. Jos Joures said the amount of people who turned out showed the strength of feeling in the village against the plans.

But Mr Jefferson said the scheme would benefit the community, bringing new jobs into the area.

“This is an exciting opportunity to create an innovative nursery, based on the forest school ethos, that will create up to seven full-time jobs in a rural community," he said.

"The over-riding principle is to encourage child-led learning in an outdoor environment with an emphasis on respecting the world around them.

"The nursery will offer unrivalled quality to users as it will be operated by Louise Jefferson who has 15 years teaching experience as an Early Years Specialist, holds a Masters in Education, SENDCo qualification and a level 3 Forest School qualification which few providers can offer.

"All traffic concerns have been addressed through a transport plan which has been endorsed by the local Highways authority.

"We see this as offering a vital service to Wylam to ensure its future sustainability especially considering the likely future loss of its GP surgery.”

And the application has been supported by other local residents.

Kim Aspin wrote: “I fully support the application for a day nursery in Wylam.

“Having this facility within walking distance would be a fantastic asset to the village for us and other young families both currently living in Wylam and those looking to move into the village.”