Youngsters in Islandmagee have been left without a playgroup just six weeks after the start of term.
The Playaway group had to leave Islandmagee Community Centre, at Middle Road, on Friday, without alternative accommodation being made available.
Irate parent Daniel Soule said that “tots have been turfed out of their beloved playgroup” and this has had implications for childcare arrangements.
Mr. Soule claimed that the users of the hall have been “left out of the planning and development” of the new community building in Islandmagee which is part of the Council’s flagship Gobbins redevelopment.
He criticised the Borough Council, which owns the building, and Social Services which he suggested had “failed the pre-school and other community groups that use the building”.
“They knew this was coming and should have had something in place for the start of term,” he stated.
It is understood that a portable building will be delivered this week but will not be ready for use for several weeks.
Mr. Soule continued: “If this was a school, something like this would not be allowed to happen.”
Playgroup leader Michelle Bolt said that she had been told a fortnight ago that it would have to vacate the premises.
She indicated that a mobile is expected to be delivered on Saturday to provide temporary accommodation with the 14 children enrolled at Playaway likely to return in November.
A spokesperson for the Northern Health and Social care Trust said: “The Trust have been liaising with the council and playgroup in respect of preparing the building to meet registration requirements and has been advised that it may be ready for inspection at the end of this week.
“Early Years staff are ready to complete the registration process once the Trust are notified that the building is ready to be inspected.”
A spokesperson for Larne Borough Council, stated: “The Council has been working closely with the management board of the Islandmagee playgroup to establish temporary alternative accommodation to enable the redevelopment of the old community centre as part of the Gobbins regeneration project.
“There has been carefully planned co-ordination of these arrangements with all groups using the community centre. All except the playgroup have been successfully reallocated to allow the development work to take place.
“The playgroup which is funded by the Health and Social services presented a series of specific challenges which Council has tirelessly endeavoured to overcome:– a piece of land on the nearby sports fields was identified for the construction of a temporary facility within a mobile structure. The requirements of the Social services and their rules regarding these facilities entailed significant adjustments to the proposed structure which Council agreed to implement.
“These adjustments and securing Social Services approval has led to unavoidable delay in establishing new facility. In an effort to assist with continuity of the provision of playgroup services Council proposed establishing a playgroup facility at Carnfunnock Country Park with transport arrangements also provided. Unfortunately, Health and Social Services would not accept these arrangements despite the support of the parents of the children who attend the Islandmagee playgroup.”