Wellingborough property won't be converted into children's home

Councillors refuse to grant permission as it's feared house would not be used

By Sol Buckner
Friday, 11th June 2021, 3:42 pm
The meeting took place at Swanspool House in Wellingborough
The meeting took place at Swanspool House in Wellingborough

An application to change the use of a house in Wellingborough to a children’s home for one child has been refused.

North Northamptonshire Council’s Area Planning Committee turned down the application at a meeting yesterday (June 10).

A report to the committee had recommended it was refused as the social benefits of the application were considered limited as the placing authority had not confirmed it would use the children’s home.

Planning permission was sought for the change of use from house to residential institution.

The site contains a small three-bedroom house and there is an identified and evidenced need for small houses within North Northamptonshire.

The report stated the proposal had adverse environmental impacts as the parking proposed did not comply with the local standard.

The adverse social and environmental impacts were considered to significantly and demonstrably outweigh the economic benefits of the proposal.

A total of 11 objections were received by the council from neighbouring households. These included objections in relation to an increase in traffic and loss of on-street parking for visitors.

The housing strategy section of the report stated: ‘The application makes no reference to the standards set out in the Guide to Children’s Home Standards or to relevant NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines.

‘The standards require that the registered person ‘seeks to involve’ the placing authority – in this instance North Northamptonshire Council (NNC), or the Nene and Corby Clinical Commissioning Group.

‘The applicant and NNC should therefore provide evidence of an agreed need for this children’s home.

‘The plans proposed do not demonstrate that the proposed home will provide ‘privacy, common spaces and spaces to be active’ as required by the guidelines, nor to provide overnight staff accommodation and facilities as required by the guidelines.

‘The plans also do not provide information detailing how the home would meet the needs of children in care who might have additional needs, for example requiring adaptations, accessibility considerations, locked medicine cabinets etc.

‘Without clear evidence of need for this children’s home, support from the placing authority, and demonstration that the design meets current and potential future needs of a children’s home it is not possible for the housing officer to support this application.

‘A registered children’s home for small numbers e.g. one or two children, is only required in specific and exceptional circumstances where the child/children have high levels of vulnerabilities, high care needs or both.

‘The proposed property as per the plans provided, does not provide any specialist facilities to meet higher needs.’