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North East could get three children's care facilities, including two residential homes

Council-led plans for two new children’s homes and a purpose-built ‘children’s assessment centre’ in South Tyneside have officially been submitted to borough development bosses. South Tyneside Council recently revealed plans to increase the amount of residential beds available in the borough to support young people in need.

Currently, there is only one children’s residential home in the borough, with space for a maximum of four young people at once. Combined with a shortage of foster carers, it means young people often have to be sent outside South Tyneside away from family and friends.

To help improve the situation, South Tyneside Council has developed separate planning applications for new facilities at sites in Jarrow, Hebburn and South Shields. The new homes, if approved, would boost the number of placements for looked-after children and young people while allowing them to stay close to their family, friends and schools.

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Planning documents submitted with the applications also outline the benefits of the proposals, which include “promoting job and career opportunities”.

Children’s Assessment Centre in South Shields

The application site sits within the Simonside and Rekendyke ward on vacant land behind Seton Avenue, Fox Avenue and Laybourn Gardens. A design and access statement submitted with the plans confirms the building will offer two bedrooms for children and two bedrooms for live-in staff at night, with up to three staff present during the day.

The design and access statement adds the building will provide short-term accommodation “whilst an assessment is undertaken to determine the most appropriate longer term living arrangement at a different location”. Building features include a secure front access, potential provision for a lift to “ensure future adaptability for accessible use” and specially-designed spaces which aim to “reinforce the idea of a homely environment, rather than being somewhere institutional”.

In addition, the site will offer dedicated parking between a main building and annexe accommodation, including cycle parking and disabled parking, and an ‘activity garden’. The building has also been based on sustainable principles, with high levels of thermal insulation, suitable lighting and opportunities to install solar panels on the roof.

Residential children’s home in Jarrow area

The Jarrow facility (JDDK Architects)

The application site sits on the corner of Grant Street and Hill Street in the Jarrow area, with plans to build a new residential children’s home. This includes a building with four bedrooms for children and two bedrooms for live-in staff, with up to four staff expected to be present during office hours.

Building features include a secure front access, an annexe suite of accommodation for those transitioning to new homes and living and activity spaces connecting into gardens. According to a design and access statement submitted with the plans, the multi-purpose garden will have a range of features including a “Zen garden” and a grassed area which could be used for “informal sports”.

In addition, the children’s home will be designed to be sustainable, with opportunities for roof-mounted solar panels, as well as offering on-site parking facilities, cycle parking and disabled parking.

Residential children’s home in Hebburn

How the Hebburn facility could look (JDDK Architects)

The residential children’s home is planned for land off Victoria Court in Hebburn, southwest of Hebburn Central and northwest of Durham Court. Plans include a four-bedroom children’s home, two bedrooms for live-in staff and an annexe suite of accommodation for those transitioning to new homes.

The sustainable building will include a secure front access, communal areas, living activity spaces connecting into garden activity spaces and dedicated parking facilities, including cycle parking and disabled parking. The children’s home forms part of wider council redevelopment plans in the area, which include proposals for a new extra care facility and new council-owned homes.

What happens next?

Decisions on the children’s homes and children’s assessment centre will be made once periods of council consultation have concluded. For more information on the applications or to track their progress, visit South Tyneside Council’s online planning portal here

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