IT CLOSED shortly after being branded “inadequate” by inspectors and has stood empty ever since.

Now the former Oak Nursery School in Long Lane, Holbury, could be turned back into a house under plans submitted to the district council.

The large detached property opposite Fawley refinery has been vacant for a year.

Ofsted was highly critical of the privately-run nursery, saying it failed to ensure children’s safety, kept inaccurate records and staged “mundane” activities.

Ofsted later confirmed that all the issues raised in the report had subsequently been addressed by nursery staff.

But the facility closed shortly afterwards and all attempts to sell it to another nursery provider have failed.

Now owners Umadat and Jaysee Lohur have submitted plans to turn the building back into a house.

Their planning application says: “Our proposal is to reinstate the residential (use) of the property through minor alterations only.

“The nursery has been closed since April last year but this has not resulted in the loss of a community facility as there are four nurseries in the surrounding area.”

The application says the proposed conversion would benefit neighbours because the house would generate less noise and traffic than the nursery.

It adds: “We have tried to sell it on as a nursery but with the current market we have had hardly any interest in the property.”

Their application also cites the housing shortage across the Forest, saying a large number of people are waiting for a home in the Holbury area.

The property is directly opposite Fawley refinery, with only a road separating the two sites.

The area surrounding the huge petro-chemical complex is covered by regulations that aim to curb new development and limit the number of people who might be injured in a major incident.

But the application says: “The Health and Safety Executive does not have any particular problem with the addition of a single dwelling in this location.”

The Ofsted report was published following an inspection carried out in February last year.

It said: “The owner has a poor understanding of her responsibility to safeguard children’s welfare effectively. She fails to identify when children are at risk of harm and does not support staff to report concerns promptly.

“Recruitment and induction procedures are poor.

“The owner fails to identify weaknesses in staff performance. Staff deployment is ineffective and places children’s safety and wellbeing at further risk.”

“Children do not make sufficient progress, activities are mundane and lack challenge.”