Neighbours speak out over kids' care home plan for 5-bed detached on housing estate

The care home would be located at the Saffron Gardens estate in Hemlington
-Credit: (Image: Google Maps)

Criticism has been fired over plans to convert a former family house into a children's care home which some neighbours say will result in more anti-social behaviour and a hit on house prices.

Clinical Property Group Limited wants to use a detached property in Hemlington as a residential care home for up to three children, aged 10 to 18. The five-bedroomed house is located on the Saffron Gardens - part of the new Persimmon housing development, off the B1365.

A resident living on Brooke's Lane, overlooking the proposed home, said: "People have paid hundreds of thousands of pounds for their homes and don't want anti-social behaviour and safeguarding issues associated with this." The applicant said the care home would not result in a detrimental impact on neighbours and would provide a "much-needed" facility in Middlesbrough.

The concerned resident, who did not want to be named, said house prices nearby are likely to depreciate, adding: "How are they going to compensate us - well they are clearly not going to do that." He suggested some residents may even consider taking legal action.

"When I was looking at buying the house, if someone had told me there was going to be a children's home there I would have said okay and started looking elsewhere." He said he will be objecting to the plans and expected many others to do the same.

Another resident living on Hemlington Grange Way said he had been unaware of the plans and criticised a lack of consultation prior to the submission of the planning application. "It's absolutely disgusting as is the fact we haven't beem notified. That would have passed through the door and shut," he said.

"I wouldn't be happy with it. It becomes a business rather than a home.

"It's a massive thing and we should have been told. One of the reasons we bought this was because we were told there would be no social housing."

Other residents, however, couldn't see an issue with the proposals. Dorothy Carling, 67, who has been living at her home on Brooke's Lane for almost six years said: "I don't have any problem with it."

And Susan Murphy, 61, who has lived on lives on Hemlington Grange Way for five years, said she lived near a care home on The Pastures and said there was "no bother". She added: "They have to live somewhere and I am fine with it."

Another resident on the same road said there are lots of families with two or three children living in the area and it would be no different. "They can't isolate them somewhere in the countryside," he said.

He did however express concerns it may result in more teenagers gathering in the area and potentially causing problems. "If they start attracting all their mates, that would be a worry," he said.

A planning application has been submitted to the local authority which will be considered in due course. Each child would be fully assessed for their suitability to be placed into the home, said a statement to the council's planning department.

"This would be based on a risk assessment, their physical and mental health requirements, along with the provision of suitably qualified staff to care for the children," it said. "The children are generally considered vulnerable, predominantly due to the outcome of neglect and forms of abuse.

"Their vulnerability should be understood to be, in particular, related to abuse, exploitation and deprivation. As a result, they are located within an appropriate physical environment with supporting policies, processes, systems and care to keep them safe from further harm."

The proposal would not require any internal or external alterations to the dwelling and the layout would remain unchanged. It would be regulated by Ofsted as required by law. The home would be manned on 12-hour rotational shifts by up to five employees, depending on the number of children being cared for and their specific needs.

"To all intent and purpose, it will retain its residential appearance with the only difference being that the children will be cared for by professional care staff rather than their parents," said the statement. "The proposed use would generate no greater level of noise, disturbance, or traffic movements than an average five-bedroomed dwelling, especially due to the fact that the children are supervised at all times.

"This application should not automatically be considered to bring drug or anti-social behaviour issues into the area due to the fact the children are very closely monitored and assessed before being placed in any of the homes to ensure that they themselves are placed in a safe homely environment. Such assumptions are pre-determining the children’s behaviour and should be treated as scaremongering."

Stainton and Thornton councillor David Coupe said he has not been consulted about the plans and said he was "surprised" on learning about the application "second-hand". He said no residents had contacted him about the plans so far.

As reported, Middlesbrough Council hopes to save more than £1.9m over the next four years by creating more accommodation for children in care. The local authority spends £2,300 a week placing children in accommodation outside the area.

The council’s revised approach would see £4.5m spent on new-build properties from home builders or from the private market. Two six-bed children’s homes could be bought in 2024-25, one three-bed in 2025-26, and a further two six-bed homes in 2026-27.

On average, Middlesbrough Council residential placements cost £3,300 per week. This compares to an average cost of £5,600 per week for an external placement.

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