Plans for children’s care home in Wellingborough deferred

G4S wants to open a children's care home in Wellingborough
G4S wants to open a children's care home in Wellingborough

Dozens of people will have to wait to have their say on plans to turn a residential house into a children’s home after the matter was deferred.

Wellingborough Council’s planning committee was due to discuss the application by G4S Children’s Services for a change of use for 34 Hatton Avenue in Wellingborough from a dwelling house to a children’s home last night.

Dozens of residents packed the council chamber to hear the committee discuss the plans, but within minutes of the meeting starting, chairman Cllr Malcolm Ward recommended the item was deferred.

He told the chamber he had received advice from the police on the application, which has attracted more than 100 objections, just 15 minutes before the meeting.

Cllr Ward suggested to fellow councillors that this was not enough time to consider their thoughts and the item should be put back to a later date.

After Cllr Ward’s proposal to defer the plan was seconded and approved, the meeting continued and the residents who had turned out, many of which to speak against it, were soon heading home again.

A new date for the application to be considered has not yet been decided.

The application says up to five children aged between 10 and 17 would be present at the house at any given time if approval was given.

It would provide accommodation for youngsters from local authorities needing placements for looked after children and children in need.

Youngsters could be placed there because their parents are unwell, they have problems with their family, they are in the care of the local authority, subject to a court order or interim care order, or due to a foster placement breakdown.

A report submitted as part of the application says: “It has been demonstrated the proposed change of use will provide a necessary community facility to provide care to a vulnerable section of society.”

The application also includes details of G4S’s behaviour management strategy, stating: “The home will strive to establish and maintain acceptable levels of behaviour by everyone at all times.

“Where behaviour falls below the standards expected, this will be discussed with the young person(s) concerned and corrective action implemented.

“The home follows a therapeutic approach to behaviour management and will apply firm, fair and consistent principles in the application of this management plan.”

But there are fears it is not the right environment for a children’s home.

One objection published on the council website states: “We wish to object in the strongest terms. The proposal is inappropriate for the local community.

“It will increase parking problems in the Hatton Park area, reduce the values of properties, increase petty crime, increase noise pollution and increase behavioural problems in the neighbourhood.”

The recommendation ahead of tonight’s meeting was for councillors to approve the plans.