A boarded-up church building which has been subject to vandalism will get a new lease of life as a children’s day nursery.

Southampton City Council planners have given the green light for the proposal at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Shirley.

Hopscotch Day Nursery Group Ltd, which now owns the site, said the facility will welcome up to 100 children between the ages of three months and five years old.

The building has been vacant since late 2022, but it was previously used by community groups, including a pre-school and toddler playgroup.

A planning statement submitted by the established nursery group said: “The proposal would bring about much-needed investment into the site in Sholing, improving the longevity and sustainability of the buildings and landscaping across the site.

“Moreover, the renewed lease of life through the building’s use as a day nursery would prevent further dilapidation and vandalism of the buildings.

“Recently the property was subjected to anti-social behaviour with windows being broken and copper from the roof being stolen despite security fencing being present on site.

“The building has now been boarded up for additional security to deter further incidents.”

The nursery will be open from 7.30am to 6.30pm Monday to Friday, creating 25 full-time and five part-time jobs.

The inside of the building will be subdivided for age groups, with a staff area, reception and kitchen facilities.

A new extensive outdoor play area for each age group will also be created.

An officer in the council’s early years learning team said the Sholing area is identified as a high priority for nursery provision.

“This is partly due to recent nursery closures in 2023 and estimated future increases in demand,” they said.

“St Andrew’s Methodist Church Hall is an ideal location for childcare services due to the communities in which it borders. The location also provides excellent transport links for parents. This is further evidenced by the fact that the church hall has in the past, been the home for a long-established community pre-school.

“The nursery provider has a proven track record of delivering high quality, sustainable childcare services to local families within Southampton.”

The nursery plan had the backing of a neighbour to the site in South East Road.

They said it an “excellent community asset” would be “brought back to life and given a new opportunity to thrive for many years to come”.