THE owner of two children’s daycare nurseries in Bradford on Avon has strongly criticised plans to potentially impose commercial charges on her business for using the town’s parks and public playing fields.

Arlene Caddow, who runs The Shambles and the Westview Day Nurseries with her husband Mark Kendall, has been told that she may have to pay a small charge for using public open spaces such as Westbury Gardens, Culver Close and Victory Field.

She hit out last week at the BoA Business annual general meeting, saying a resident had complained about children at her day nurseries using Westbury Gardens.

Yesterday, Ms Caddow said she has “received no assurances” from Bradford on Avon Town Council that her business will be exempted from plans to charge commercial organisations using local parks and playing fields.

“It’s not the right way, to try and penalise people who are using the park. I do not feel that children who live in the town should have to pay for using the parks,” she said.

“I can’t see why we should be charged and I can’t see how the council is going to police and administer it. It’s a no-brainer. It’s not going to work.”

Ms Caddow agrees children from her day nurseries walk through council parks to go to the swimming pool, or go down to the River Avon and Barton Farm on nature rambles.

She received a letter from the council a week ago last Monday saying that as a commercial business she might face charges.

A town council spokesman said: “The town council makes a charge for the use of its facilities.

“We run five: St Margaret’s Hall, the Youth & Community Centre,Victory Field, Culver Close Playing Field and Westbury Gardens.

“We work hard to make sure that spaces are well kept and, whilst areas are free for use by the public, businesses wishing to specifically use facilities (not just pass through as in dog walkers) are requested to apply to hire the facility, which ensures that the council meets its insurance obligations.

“This type of space is only funded by our council tax precept and the town council does not receive money from business rates.

“While we support businesses in many ways, we also have to consider fairness to our council tax payers, so businesses using spaces for commercial purposes may be asked to pay a small charge to assist with the upkeep.”