Tuesday 23 July 2024
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Nottingham

Controversial plans for children’s home approved in heated meeting

Councillors were divided over controversial plans for a children’s home in a Nottinghamshire cul-de-sac.

Plans to house up to two children aged between seven and 16 in a home in Nuthall were passed after a heated debate in the council chamber.

Applicant Berry Gifford is already running the four-bed home in Highbury Close – but applied for planning permission so it can also house those under the age of 16.

Objections were received by 43 residents – and one claimed they have called the police on a number of occasions over smoking of marijuana and anti-social behaviour.

Nuthall Parish Council also objected to the application.

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There would be two members of staff working and sleeping at the property with the potential for a third if necessary.

Councillor Jill Owen (Con) said during the meeting: “This might be called a children’s home but let’s not pretend, it is a business running for a profit, as is the one which is currently running from there.

“I don’t think you people would like it in your area. You sit there preaching about it but just think about it.”

Councillor David Watts (Lib Dem) responded: “Do not tell me that we would not want it in our ward, what utter nonsense. Perhaps if you actually listened you wouldn’t make such silly comments.”

He added: “The objection seems to be simply because it is kids in care. The suggestion that it will cause significant extra traffic defies common sense.”

Mr Johnson, representing the residents, said: “There have already been a number of issues which have adversely impacted our living environment including anti-social behaviour, smoking of marijuana which has been reported to the police and waste bins have not been regularly emptied leading to vermin infestation.

“Neighbours are reluctant to use their back gardens in the summer having been shouted and sworn at.

“Neighbours have been harassed and threatened on their doorstep by persons making aggressive enquiries about the residents.

“An elderly resident is no longer willing to open her front door after dark. A neighbour is no longer willing to allow her daughter to play on the close.”

He added that the residents felt the application would increase traffic flow and parking needs.

In support of the residents, Councillor Philip Owen (Con) said: “The application originally submitted was inaccurate because the applicant claimed they owned the property.  Quite clearly they didn’t. That had to be rectified.

“It does raise questions about an organisation and their ability to run things appropriately if they don’t even know whether they own a property or not.

“If permission is given, there will be far more comings and goings at the property.

“The young people that are going to be placed in this property are going to be extremely vulnerable and require a huge amount of support.”

Supporting the application, councillor Tim Hallam (Lib Dem) added: “I cannot think of a better facility to look out for young people than a nice small suburban location”.

A representative for Berry Gifford who spoke during the meeting said: “We are applying to change the use from dwelling to residential care home.

“We currently use it for a 16 plus supported accommodation project and have done for a while.

“We would be beholden to really strict Ofsted guidelines that govern what we do. It’s not a massive change.”

Council documents stated: “The carers of the children will not be permanent residents, but would work on a shift pattern, with emphasis on creating a family environment by preparing and eating meals together, supporting the children to attend school/college and services around the area.

“The negative impacts are the increase in coming and goings to the dwelling.

“On balance, it is considered that, for the reasons above, the negative impacts
would not outweigh the benefits of the proposed development and that planning permission should be granted.”

The applicant Berry Gifford said: “All matters are referred to the local council, who will make a determination on our application.”

Seven people voted in favour of the application, four against and one abstained.

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