Soft play centre plan approved for Doncaster town

Tracy Ebbage, with some of the plans she has had drawn up as part of her bid to open a soft play centre in Thorne
Tracy Ebbage, with some of the plans she has had drawn up as part of her bid to open a soft play centre in Thorne

A Doncaster town is set to get its first children's soft play centre under plans drawn up for an industrial estate.

Grandmother Tracy Ebbage is looking to set up the facility at the Island Drive industrial estate, near Thorne, and hopes to have it up and running in March next year.

Tracy was given planning permission this week after Doncaster Council's planning committee rejected concerns that had been raised by the authority's planning officers that opening on an industrial estate with a shared car park may pose a road safety hazard.

The voted to grant planning permission despite a recommendation to refuse after appeals by both Thorne ward Coun Joe Blackham, and Mrs Ebbage herself. They heard such facilities had already been built on industrial estates in other areas.

Coun Blackham told councillors he had done a survey of traffic on the industrial estate and saw only one van moving on the car park between 12noon and 6pm, and children attending the site would be chaperoned by parents or grandparents.

He added residents in Thorne currently had to travel to Wheatley or Goole to use soft play centres and urged the committee to back the plans for a facility he thought was needed by the town.

He said: "Thorne and Moorends Town Council overwhelmingly supports this application. These are local people with local knowledge and more information than those making the recommendations."

Mrs Ebbage said she passionately wanted to open a soft play centre in Thorne.

She said she had been visiting such facilities for the last six years with her grandchildren, and the site on Island Drive was one of only two which she thought would be suitable in Thorne.

She said there would be a movable barrier put in place which would make sure that no child could run straight out of the play centre into the car park, as well as a barrier inside the building.

After the meeting, Ms Ebbage said she was delighted with the support she had received for the centre, which would be close to the Capitol Park development.

She said her plan for the centre would have a jungle theme, and it would have a cafe on the site as well as three levels of play equipment.

"I have the lease sorted out and now want to get on with the building work," she said. "We're looking at three tiers of play equipment, about 5.7m high, with slides."