A six-bed family house in Coventry is to be turned into a children’s care home, despite protests from neighbours it could lead to anti-social behaviour.
Coventry City Council’s planning committee granted applicant Dimensions Care unanimous approval for the scheme at 97 Broad Lane, in Earlsdon, last week.
The site will provide a care home for four children between the ages of six-17 who have social and emotional difficulties, along with two ‘live-in’ members of staff.
Speaking at the meeting on Thursday, May 27, chair of the committee Cllr Lindsley Harvard said: “When I grew up in Coventry homes for looked after children were small and family based and worked very well.
“For some reason Coventry decided to choose purpose built homes for looked after children and in my view they didn’t work all that well.
“I am very pleased that we are now going back to hopefully small family centred homes because that’s what these very vulnerable children need, they need to replicate as far as possible the family situation.”
However the plans came with opposition from neighbours with 16 letters of objection and a petition of 33 signatures against the bid.
One neighbour, Charles Cooney, argued children needed a purpose-built home “without the pressure of constant complaints from residents”.
He said: “It needs to be done properly with the right facilities, support, and structure in place, and in the appropriate location, not created with haste and on the cheap by converting some rooms, planting some bushes to reduce the noise, and putting up a bike shed.”
Another, Dawn Johnson, said there were concerns over the privacy, noise, and the situating of the care home on a “very busy junction on a main road”.
She said: “We do not think it is an appropriate location for vulnerable children as walking it can be dangerous.”
Other objections centred around an alleged increase in crime and anti-social behaviour which could stem from the running of other care homes, planning officer Darren Henry said, although he added there was “no actual link between this care home and others”.
Overlooking would be “no different to previous use”, he said, adding there would be “no more noise than usual from a family” and that there were no concerns over traffic with “plenty of on-site parking”.
Mr Henry said it will be “run similar to that of a family home” to create a “family setting”.
That will include two live-in members of staff operating on a shift pattern of two days on and two days off, with management on-call 24/7.
Wayne Price, on behalf of the applicant Dimensions Care, said: “The proposal is a neighbourly one. It will operate as a residential building in a residential area.”
He added: “It will re-use vacant premises, deliver a high-quality children’s care home during a critical period whilst also strengthening the local economy.”
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