An ‘outstanding’ nursery in Ham has applied for retrospective planning permission to operate as a nursery.

Katey’s Nursery, in Riverside Drive, was rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted after its very first inspection in October.

Commenting on the planning application, dad Callum North, expressed disbelief as to why the popular nursery was being challenged.

Mr North, of Wyndham Road, said: “Katey's Nursery & Pre-School has provided much needed, exceptional quality childcare in Ham.

“My son attends the nursery, and quite frankly the location couldn't be more suitable for a nursery.

“I can only imagine the person/persons that challenged the nursery's use is someone, not close, and possibly in competition with them, as they are Outstanding in everything they do for local parents and children.”

Katey Barrington, director of Katey’s Nursery & Pre School, said: “The planning application came as quite a surprise for us, but we believe it is just a technicality.”

The application asks for permission to operate as a nursery between Mondays to Fridays between approximately 8.00am and 6.30pm.

It states: “Whilst the application is retrospective, it should be noted that it was Richmond Council (Achieving For Children) that approached the applicant to operate a childcare service within the premises which is in itself a Richmond Council owned building.

“We are advised that the Council marketed such a use to all nursery operators within the Boroughs of Kingston and Richmond, requested and vetted applications, before helping choose the most suitable partner, in this case Katey’s Nursery & Pre-School.

“On the basis of the above, the Applicant, Katey’s Nursery & Pre School, have invested tens of thousands of pounds to set up the service and provide deprived families in the local area with access to free childcare.”

A spokesman for Achieving for Children said: "Achieving for Children was made aware in 2015 that the previous stay and play provider had vacated Kew and Ham Sport Association's clubhouse.

"As the clubhouse is in an area where there was a need for more nursery places, we shared this opportunity with local nursery providers, and arranged a 'meet and greet' day.

"Our role was to signpost providers to some available premises. We had no involvement in any commercial discussions between any of the parties involved.

"It's the responsibility of the applicant to make sure they follow the correct planning processes."