Proposal to Close Cameron House Nursery

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Closes 22 Dec 2023

Proposal to Close Cameron House Nursery Questionnaire

The details of the proposal are available below and should be read before completing this questionnaire. 

Proposal to formally close and dispose of Cameron House Nursery

1. Introduction

In summary, the proposal is to formally close Cameron House Nursery which has not be in use since 2019. Thereafter it is proposed to dispose of the property through a public sale.

The City of Edinburgh Council have no other use for the building within the estate.

2. Background and context

In 2019, Cameron House Nursery’s role had dropped to four children. The four children moved to the nearby Prestonfield Nursery and Cameron House Nursery was registered as ‘inactive’. It has remained unused since. The map in Appendix 1 shows Cameron House Nursery’s location and surrounding Early Years Facilities.

Prior to 2019, the number of children attending Cameron House Nursery had been falling due to more accessible provision in the area including the newly expanded Nursery at Prestonfield Primary School some 300 metres away.   

Cameron House Nursery was registered with the Care Inspectorate, providing 28 places. It is accessed via a steep lane and steps which is not fit for purpose. There is no vehicular access to the site.

Cameron House Nursery was built in 1937 and has ‘B’ listing status due to the stained-glass panels, designed and made by renowned Scottish artist William Wilson.

A condition survey, carried out in July 2023, identified over £311k of required remedial and repair works.  The majority of identified work is to deal with areas of the building scored as ‘Poor’ (C) or ‘Bad’ (D). Due to its age and listed status, it would also require significant investment to improve the building’s efficiency and reduce its carbon footprint.

3. Roll and capacity analysis

This section considers the historic, current and predicted demand for nursery places in the Prestonfield area.

The Council’s 20-minute neighbourhood principle which suggests journey times of 10 minutes to a destination. Table 1 shows the nursery provision within 10 minutes’ walk of Cameron House Nursery and their current occupancy. Appendix 1 shows a map of these locations.

Table 1: Current Nursery Capacity, Roll and Occupancy Percentage


Registered Capacity

Funded Children

Occupancy Rate






5 mins

Little Monkeys




7 mins

St. Margarets




10 mins

Further afield are Craigmillar EYC, Arcadia, Newington, Strawberry Hill and Greendykes EYC.

Table 1 also illustrates there is sufficient capacity within the current area to meet current need. Every child will have access to 1140 hours of funded early learning and childcare in the Prestonfield area.

In 2019, Cameron House Nursery only had four children registered. They subsequently moved to Prestonfield Nursery and Cameron House Nursery was registered as ‘inactive’.

Demand for Nursery spaces in the area reached a peak in 2022 and is predicted to fall over the next two years. The prediction is that demand will not rise to the levels seen in 2022 over the next ten years. Given current provision has met this peak demand there is no need to mothball Cameron House Nursery for future capacity requirements.

There are no significant housing developments in the Prestonfield area planned

Table 2 below illustrates the historic and predicted demand for the Prestonfield area. Demand for nursery places in the area reached a peak in 2022 and is predicted to fall over the next two years not reaching the levels experienced in 2022 for at least ten year. Given current provision has met this peak demand there is no need to mothball Cameron House Nursery for future capacity requirements.

Table 2 Historic and Predicted Demand for 3-4 year olds – Prestonfield Area

Historic max demand for places is as follows:



















Projected demand for 3-4 year-old places is as follows:





















4. Details of proposal

The previous sections have established there is no demand for the building as a nursery. There is no alternative use for the building within the Council.

Given the above, it would not be best value to fund the remedial work and ongoing service costs the building requires.

It is proposed to formally close Cameron House Nursery and dispose of the building through public sale.

The building would retain its B listing and any changes of use be subject to planning consent.

5. Implications for exisiting nursery provision

Cameron House Nursery has been unused since 2019 when the four registered children moved to Prestonfield Nursery. There is no further impact on Prestonfield Nursery from these proposals.

Cameron House had a limited number of registered spaces and access was difficult. It is no longer a building fit for use as a Nursery.   

Previous sections have demonstrated there will be no impact on Nursery provision in the future.

6. Educational benefits

The principal educational advantage of the proposal is that it removes a building that is no longer fit for purpose and no longer has a use within the Council estate. Replaced by local nursery provision, which is far more accessible, the Cameron House Nursery potential disposal would remove a financial burden to the Council, freeing up resources to be used elsewhere.

There will be no impact on Nursery provision in the area, as previously illustrated.

7. Financial Considerations

A previous condition survey in 2017 reported £100,000 of essential works were required. In 2023, the essential works required is £311,000. With no predicted use for the building, it is not best value to carry out these works nor continue mothballing the building.

The £311,000 investment required are essential works and the building would require further investment to improve energy efficiency and meet modern Nursery standards.

In its last full year of operation, the building required £13,500 for services and general maintenance.  

The building and grounds have been valued at £260,000.    

The savings accrued from the remedial works, day to day operation and the potential income from the sale represents best value for the Council.

A fire was started on the Cameron House site on 1st September 2023 which resulted in minor damage. It is an ongoing concern that the empty building will continue to attract anti-social behaviour and the resultant costs this may incur.

8. Indicative timescales

The timescales for the potential disposal of Cameron House Nursery are detailed in Table 3 below.

Table 3: Indicative timescales

Conclusion of  consultation December 2023
Education Scotland Review January 2024
Outcomes report to Education, Children and Families Committee April 2024

If the proposals in this paper are approved by the Education, Children and Families Committee in April 2024 and the Scottish Government do not call-in the proposal then the Cameron House Nursery building would be declared surplus and listed for disposal in April 2024.

If the City of Edinburgh Council approves the disposal of Cameron House, following the consultation period, it must notify the Scottish Government. A notice of the decision will appear on the Council’s website with links for stakeholders wishing to make representations to the Scottish Ministers.

The Scottish Government can ‘call in’ a decision made by the Council for review. This could result in a delay in a final decision being made by 9 weeks up to a maximum of 17 weeks.

Scottish Ministers can approve, approve with conditions, refuse the decision or potentially ask the Council to repeat the consultation with measures taken to address any concerns in the process.

Full information on the process can be found here:

Appendix 1 Location

Map showing locations of nursery provision in Prestonfield area


1. What is your name?
2. What is your e-mail address?
3. What is your postcode?
4. What is your main interest in the consultation?
5. Do you have a child or children in a nursery or school at the moment?

If yes, please tell us the name (s) of their school or nursery classes.

6. Do you support the proposal as detailed in the statutory consultation paper? Please select (tick) only one item.

If you do not support the proposal, please give your reasons below:

7. Do you have any other comments or suggestions?