Playgroup faces closure unless hall row resolved

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A playgroup could be forced to close at the end of next week as a row rumbles on over its use of a village hall.

Rainbows Playgroup has had to move to a temporary home after the locks were changed on the hall in High Street, Gosberton, which they shared with the village youth club.

But education watchdog Ofsted only allows groups to operate from temporary facilities for 14 days – meaning unless a solution can be found and the group can return to their permanent home by Friday, they will have to close – leaving parents struggling to make alternative arrangements for their children.

Solicitors are now involved and it is hoped an answer will be found before the deadline.

Playgroup owner Jane Houghton said: “We are still working hard with the help of two local vicars who are trustees of Gosberton Youth Club to get this sorted out.

“We thought it was all sorted out before Christmas after a letter went out to parents from the Rev Ian Walters and the Rev Steve Weatherly Barton saying they intended for us to be back using the hall at the start of the new term, but there have been some problems, but I would just like to thank them as they are working tirelessly to help us.”

Mrs Houghton said problems have not been helped by rumours circulating in Gosberton that the playgroup is trying to get the youth club shut down.

She said: “At the end of the day we still want to work with the youth club and the trustees as our children are their future. We definitely do not want to see it closed as it is a vital service for the young people in the village.”

The initial problems started when the playgroup, acting on legal advice, refused to sign a licence renewal until trustees agreed to meet them to discuss minor improvements to the hall such as drainage and replacement lights.