Planners urged to can care home plan amid fears cul-de-sac being flooded with similar developments

Councillors have been urged to veto a move to turn another family house in a village cul-de-sac into a small children’s care home.

Najeeb Dalal, of Warrington-based Birchwood Children Services, has applied to hyndburn-council>Hyndburn Council for a lawful development certificate to convert 46 Bluebell Way, Huncoat, into a children’s home for up to two children, up to three carers, two sleeping overnight working on a rota basis.

The proposal will be debated by the authority’s planning committee on Wednesday. The care home would look after two children (aged seven up to their 18th birthday) with emotional or behavioural difficulties.

The proposal has already generated several letters of objection, one of which says: “The Bluebell Way Estate currently has three other properties within close proximity to this one currently being used by a company called Prosperity to care for children.

“If a certificate was to be granted it would result in an over proliferation of such properties.”

In April a government planning inspector overturned the committee’s refusal to approve a similar conversion at 49 Bluebell Way, Huncoat.

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An officer’s report to the meeting on Wednesday recommending refusal says: “The application is for a certified determination whether or not planning permission is needed for the proposed change of use.

“The decision has to be on the basis of planning law and the facts of the case. High Court decisions on the planning law and the facts point to the development needing planning permission.

“The application relates to a detached four-bedroomed dwelling house in a residential area. The dwelling has a rear and front gardens and an integral garage with a hardstanding/driveway. The information submitted by the applicant shows a well-founded intent to provide an organised domestic setting for the looked-after children, however, the proposed use would not fall within the same use class as a dwelling house (C3).

“The recommendation is that a certificate of lawful use be refused for the following reasons:

  • the information provided by the applicant fails to satisfy, on the balance of probabilities, that the new use described in the application would be lawful, in particular, the new use would not fall within use class C3; and

  • it would make a material change of use of the application site, thereby comprising development requiring the planning permission of the council.”

A supporting statement with the application says: “The children will live at the property long term, hopefully for many years. This is not a halfway house or emergency housing for children. It is argued that there is little material difference between the current and proposed use, meaning that planning permission is not required.”