A NEW scheme to provide childcare for working parents has been welcomed by the Enigma Business Park Partnership.

The Employers Childcare Network (ECN) hopes to open childcare centres at places of work.

The centres will cost the employer nothing to set-up and would be run by ECN's commercial partners.

The Enigma Business Park Partnership represents around 40 businesses on the Spring Lane estate.

Partnership co-ordinator Chris Milne said childcare facilities for its employees were an important consideration.

"I wasn't aware of the proposition, but certainly it's something that we would be interested in considering. More business is coming on to the park and more employees, so it's obviously important that childcare places are provided.

"There's available land and some large premises have spare capacity so it could be possible to set it up."

If 50 or more employees, either from one workplace or several, agree to use a centre, the ECN and its partners will invest up to £1 million in building one.

Those interested in registering an interest should visit www.employerschildcarenetwork.com.

Alice Bennett, leader of Madres-field Early Years Centre, which caters for 170 children, said she did not feel there was a need for another childcare centre in the town.

"I think Malvern has a wide range of early years educational establishments and childcare and a range of quality, so parents have quite a lot of choice. Before they suggest this scheme, they need to see what's already in the area."

Mrs Bennett expressed concern that the centre would be set up purely for financial gain and would not give children the variety of learning experiences that a business like hers could offer.