TWO former Newport nursery schools owned by the council are to be sold following a decision by the cabinet last week, despite opposition from local councillors.

A decision was taken at a meeting of Newport City Council’s cabinet on Monday February 9 to dispose of Bettws Day Nursery, on Don Close, and Don Close Nursery, on Monnow Way, in Bettws.

Bettws Day Nursery, which was used by Social Services, was closed in 2011 while Don Close closed in July last year, with children being relocated to alternative nurseries within Monnow and Milbrook Primary Schools.

A report by councillor Gale Giles, cabinet member for human resources and assets, was put to the cabinet calling the two vacant properties “surplus” and recommending they were sold off.

The report from Cllr Giles said both properties are “past their design life” and the council lack the resources to repair the buildings.

It is estimated Don Close Nursery would cost around £315,000 to get back up and running, with a similar cost estimated for Bettws Day Nursery.

But cllr Noel Trigg and Kevin Whitehead, for Bettws ward, said they want to see the buildings saved and used for community purposes.

Cllr Whitehead said: “I have lamented the lack of a proper community hub for Bettws residents for a long time now, I have also asked many times could Don Close Nursery be utilised as a community building for Bettws residents across the age spectrum.

“I doubt we will be granted the use of the building so have engaged in talks with multi agencies involved with community funding to try and secure the old Civil Service building.

“Bettws is a poor relation when it comes to quality community facilities which is ironic being as it’s the biggest estate in Wales.”

But the council report said both properties are “not safe or appropriate for general community use”.

The report called the surplus properties a “liability” to the council and any provision of community facilities within the Bettws estate should be the subject of a separate detailed review.

Utilities rates and CCTV at Bettws Day Nursery cost the local authority approximately £6,000 a year, with similar costs estimated for Don Close.

Norse Newport, which manages the council’s 400 buildings and 1,000 parcels of land, responded to the suggestion of transforming the buildings for community use.

A spokesman for Norse Newport said: “Due to the condition of both the properties, Newport Norse feel that this would not be an option due to the considerable amounts of money that would be required to be invested in the properties.

“Disposing of the site will realise the council a capital receipt and free the council from any on-going maintenance liabilities and utilities.”