IF council approval is forthcoming, the new owners of the former Waratah rugby clubhouse plan to transform it into a childcare centre.
The news should come as welcome relief to parents who are without childcare or who are on long waiting lists.
Established family business Tilly’s Play and Development Centres put in the winning bid for the site in a hotly contested auction this month.
Planning for the new centre is already under way, and Tilly’s owners, Ron and Donna MacIntyre, are excited at their purchase of the property at 40, 42 Station and 2 Steel streets.
‘‘We have been looking for a site around [the] Newcastle area for some time and [have] finally come across this, which is a site large enough to accommodate a good-size child centre with off-street parking,’’ Donna MacIntyre said.
‘‘It is a very large centre and it has a good car park, so with approval we will be taking nought to five years from 6.30am to 6.30pm.’’
The Tilly’s business has been around for 19 years and has other childcare centres at Dungog, Greta, Singleton, Muswellbrook and Abermain, as well as a smaller centre at Waratah.
‘‘At the moment we have 50 families waiting in our existing Waratah centre for extra days,’’ Ms MacIntyre said.
Tilly’s paid $1.28million plus GST for the property through Raine & Horne Commercial agent Alan Tonks on behalf of Jirsch Sutherland – liquidators for the Waratah Rugby Club.
Mr Tonks said the property was contested by people looking at an adaptive re-use of the property and by developers looking at residential units.