A decision by councillors to refuse plans for a residential house to be changed into a children’s home has been overturned.
G4S Children’s Services had applied for a change of use for 34 Hatton Avenue in Wellingborough from a dwelling house to a children’s home.
We’re obviously very disappointed with the decisionCllr Peter Morrall
But the application was refused unanimously by Wellingborough Council’s planning committee last October.
An appeal was lodged by G4S against the result, which has since been allowed and planning permission has now been granted.
The report by Thomas Shields, an inspector for The Planning Inspectorate, said: “I have had regard to the strength of local opposition to the proposal, including a petition, and a letter from the local MP, but consider this does not justify the dismissal of the appeal given that I have identified it would not result in any demonstrable harm.
“None of the other matters raised, either individually or collectively, are of such significance that they would outweigh my conclusions on the main issues.”
The property is a three-storey detached house on a corner plot at the junction of Hatton Avenue with Hatton Park Road.
The change of use application is for a children’s home for up to five children aged between 10 and 17-years-old with 24-hour care provision by staff.
Children living at the house could require care for various reasons, including ill health of parents, problems with families, in the care of the local authority or subject to a court or interim care order, or foster placement breakdown.
Mr Shields said he felt that ‘the proposed development would provide an appropriate community service in the form of a care home for children who are in need of such care.’
But following the appeal decision, Cllr Peter Morrall, chairman of the planning committee, said: “We’re obviously very disappointed with the decision.
“The planning inspector hasn’t taken into account local people’s opinions.
“We will continue to consider every planning application on its own merit and make the decisions that we believe are right for our borough.”
Concerns had been raised by residents in the area ahead of the original decision to refuse it, with more than 100 letters of objection and an 800-name petition calling for the plans to be refused.
Residents’ fears included adversely changing the neighbourhood, increased noise, anti-social behaviour, increased crime and vandalism, increased traffic and the proposal would ‘dilute unique residential character.’