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DCAN 13: Crèches, Day Nurseries and Pre-School Play Groups

4. There is no specific definition given in planning legislation of the term "crèche", "day nursery" or "pre-school playgroup" however the following is a broad description which would cover the uses.
"A place where a number of children under 5 years of age are brought together for part or all of a working day on a regular basis and where provision is made for their care, recreation and in some cases meals".
A crèche or pre-school playgroup normal caters for children of 3 to 5 years and for part of a day only. Day nurseries often cover the complete age range under 5 years old and normally operate on a full day basis. Also, a number of existing facilities provide care for older children, i.e., over 5 years old, after school hours.
5. "Crèches, day nurseries and pre-school play-groups" fall within Class 15 of the Planning (Use Classes) Order (Northern Ireland) 1989 which covers the following.
Any use (not including a residential use):-
  • for the provision of any medical or health services except the use of premises attached to the residence of the consultant or practitioner;
  • as a crèche, day nursery or day center;
  • for the provision of education;
  • for the display for works of art (otherwise than for the sale or hire);
  • as a museum;
  • as a public library or reading room; or
  • as a public hall or exhibition hall.
In any case, where differences can arise as between one use and another within Class 15, particularly in terms of their effects on the amenity of the surrounding area, the Department reserves the right to grant planning permission subject to a condition that no further change of use shall take place within the class without the express grant of planning permission.
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