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Government overrules council’s children’s care home plan refusal

Government inspectors have overruled a Nottinghamshire council’s decision to refuse permission for a children’s care home.

The Government’s Planning Inspectorate has upheld an appeal made by Greenline Healthcare Group after Mansfield District Council rejected its plans last November.

The healthcare organisation had asked the authority for retrospective planning consent to convert the existing residential home on Hollingwell Drive.

It had already converted the home before being found operating without legal consent by council officers.

A planning application was then lodged to the authority asking to use the building to support two children between the ages of 10 and 17.

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But concerns raised to the council about “disturbing” sounds coming from the property and issues with neighbours letting their children play outside led to the plans being thrown out.

Nearby residents told the council to refuse the application and it was rejected following a split vote of five votes for and five against.

Bill Drewett (Mans Ind), who chaired the committee at the time, used his casting vote as chairman to refuse the application.

It followed councillors hearing accounts of “screams and shouting” coming from the property last summer making it “no longer pleasant” for neighbours to use their gardens.

Traffic concerns were also raised regarding the home, which would have 10 members of staff working at the facility on 10-hour shifts, covering the building for a 24/7 period.

Council officers had recommended approval for the development at the November 2022 committee but councillors went against the recommendation following neighbour concerns.

At the time, Mr Drewett said: “In this instance with the concern of certain members on residential amenities, I will go against the officer’s recommendation and refuse planning.”

The decision was later appealed to the Government and inspectors have now issued their verdict.

A report confirms the council’s decision has been reversed and the home will now be allowed planning consent to operate as a children’s care facility.

Mark Ollerenshaw was the planning inspector who oversaw the appeal.

In the report, he said: “I note the council’s comments regarding the intensification of the property and complaints from residents about noise from children.

“[However], the numbers residing at the site would be similar to the numbers that could be expected for a typical family unit occupying a dwelling of this size.

“The property’s gardens are partly contained by boundary walls and fences which are likely in my view to reduce noise to some extent.

“Comings and goings associated with a large family dwelling would itself have the potential to generate considerable levels of activity and associated noise and disturbance, including residents using the garden, arriving from and leaving to go to work or school each day, and visitors.”

He added: “In addition, the home is subject to Ofsted regulations and
inspections.

“The home may be occupied by children with autism, challenging behaviour or mental health needs. However, such children can and do live in traditional family dwellings.

“I conclude that the proposal does not significantly harm the living conditions of the occupants of neighbouring properties.”

The original decision meant the care group would have been forced to cease operations and stop using the building as a children’s home.

But the appeal’s success means it can legally continue its use as a facility for vulnerable children.

Mercy Okorie, a spokeswoman for Greenline, previously explained some of the measures her organisation will take to run the home.

She said: “This is a safe and secure family environment for children to help them recover from trauma or function with disabilities.

“This care home is reflective of the family environment with consistent rules to protect the children, as well as the residential amenity of neighbours.

“The children go through a robust assessment before they are placed into a suitable location to provide them with the best opportunity to become valued members of society.

“Two staff members are on duty at all times and the manager visits the home as and when required.”

•  Council reinforces rules on memorialising graves in Mansfield cemetery sites

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