Children's home in Huthwaite residential estate gets go-ahead despite objections

By Zena Hawley

The conversion of a four-bedroom house into a children's home in Huthwaite has been given the go-ahead despite almost 80 letters of objection and a 214-name petition opposing the development.

The joint application by Homes2Inspire and Nottinghamshire County Council children's services was for a change of use to the house at Sudbury Drive so that two children aged between 10 and 18 can be cared for there.

There is car parking for three cars on the site but the county council's planning and rights of way committee was told that it was likely that some vehicles would have to park on the road some of the time during staff handovers or visit from appropriate support services.

This would eventually mean the re-location of a traffic-calming hump outside the house to a position outside the adjacent property.

Objections from residents in the same road and surrounding estate were concerned about increased traffic, parking congestion, challenging behaviour from the children at the home, adverse change to the character and amenity of the area and loss of privacy from the rear of the property.

There were also objections from Ashfield District Council, citing undue disturbance, potential noise and an adequate amount of off-street parking for the home, and also from Ashfield MP Lee Anderson.

Several residents spoke at the planning meeting including Linda Norris, who said she was concerned for the welfare of the children who would come to the home as it was a quiet area and they would be bored. She also felt it would make the parking situation on the road worse, especially as it was on a bend.

Many residents from Sudbury Drive and the surrounding roads signed a petition and write letters objecting (Google Maps)

Councillor Tom Hollis, representing Sutton West on the county council and also Huthwaite and Brierley on Ashfield District Council, said that he was concerned about a possible "increase in police call-outs" as there is "an increased chance of them (youngsters) being troubled".

He also said: "I support these types of properties but in the right places. I also have an issue with the possible parking problems.

"I hope members will turn this down or at least to defer a decision and have a site visit. More consultation should have taken place with residents.

"I will do everything in my power to find properties in my division and believe they would be better in Sutton town centre and not isolated like this."

John Hawkins, speaking on behalf of both applicants, said that there were about 980 children in county council care, most of who live in foster homes or homes like the one proposed.

He said: "All the homes are subject to Ofsted inspections, which has the power to close them if necessary.

"Children in care are not young offenders. They are often born into chaotic households. There are 214 children from Ashfield living in children's homes across Nottinghamshire but only one of them lives in Ashfield because we don't have sufficient homes.

"It is not a new model of children's home and is tried and tested. We want the best homes for the children in our care as statutory parents."

Committee chairman Richard Butler said that conditions and restrictions, including granting planning permission for a time-limited two years to allow impact can be assessed and a log being kept of any complaints received, would protect both residents and the youngsters.

Councillors voted against deferral and a site visit and instead agreed planning permission should be granted with two councillors voting against the proposal and 11 in favour.


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