TWO large tipis look set to be erected in a Green Belt location on the edge of York.

City planners are recommending councillors approve the application from Andy and Anna Nimmo pf Muddy Boots nursery at The Gardens on Boroughbridge Road.

The couple seek to erect the tipis on 1.54ha or agricultural, next to the converted farm building they use as a nursery.

A report by council planning staff, prepared for the meeting of planning committee next Wednesday, says if approved the tips would be in the north-east of the field and erected for five years.

The tipis would be about 7.4m in total height, and with the sides up, about 26m wide.


The report continued: “The purpose of the proposals is to enhance the existing nursery provision with the opportunity for outdoor play in a ‘forest school’ setting. The tipi structures are intended to provide an interesting and exciting place for children to learn and explore.

“The proposals would enable 16 children from the Muddy Boots nursery in Acomb to travel by minibus to attend sessions at the forest school. This would in turn create additional early years and childcare places in the Acomb nursery setting.”

Upper Poppleton Parish Council had no objection to the application.

Supporters said the children would benefit from the forest school, learning in the fresh air, helping their social and emotional well-being.  Their social skills would improve through shared activities like spotting wildlife, foraging for berries and building a campfire.

The report said using the field for such activities for outdoor use would not harm the openness of the site but the tipis of such size would be visually intrusive in the open agricultural landscape setting. Therefore, it fails to preserve the openness of the Green Belt and should be permitted unless very special circumstances exist.

Local planning policy, however, is to support new and expanded childcare provision in accessible locations, where there is a need.

The report continued: “The proposed forest school would accommodate up to 16 children from either the nursery on site or from the Muddy Boots nursery in Acomb. Children from the Acomb nursery would travel by minibus to the forest school, freeing up capacity for additional children to attend the Acomb nursery. It is noted that there is a shortage of early years/childcare provision in the Acomb area.

“The forest school would operate during daytime nursery hours, and not after dark, from Monday to Friday each week throughout the year with the exception of Bank Holidays and the period between Christmas and New Year when the nurseries are closed.”

Planning staff said using the field for open-air recreation was not inappropriate and the tipis would form part of the much-needed provision for nursery education. This constituted the Very Special Circumstances that outweighed any harm to the openness of the Green Belt, they concluded.