Plan to convert Hartlepool house into children’s home backed by councillors
Councillors called for support to be given to children needing care in the town as plans for a new residential home were given the green light.
Four objections had been received from residents over proposals to convert a house in St David’s Walk in Hartlepool into a residential children’s home, raising concerns of issues such as anti-social behaviour and parking.
However councillors on the planning committee unanimously passed plans for the home, stating children should not be ‘demonised because they are in care’
The home will be registered with Ofsted and accommodate up to two young people at any one time with two members of staff, according to plans submitted by Sylvia Lowe from Hartlepool Borough Council.
Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher said: “It is disappointing when you read information, whether it is intentional or not, where young people are being demonised because they are in care.
“We really need to move away from those kind of views and as an authority we need to share more of the good work we do with our young people and looked after children.
“It is disappointing and there is no link between anti-social behaviour and children in care in my view.
“It’s our job to give young people the best start in life and I fully support this plan and I have every confidence in our staff.”
Coun Marjorie James said: “The issue for me on the complaints about anti-social behaviour and the potential for it to expand is a little bit over the top.
“If it wasn’t Hartlepool Borough Council moving into this property in the way that they are proposing to do, there’s nothing to stop a family of four or six moving into this property and there would be less restriction on how their children may or may not behave.
“I personally don’t have any concerns about the actual care and supervision of children, our staff offer an excellent service and I don’t expect this to be any lesser standard than we have in other places.”
Councillors also pointed to how Cleveland Police submitted no objections or concerns to the plans.
A spokeswoman on behalf of the applicant said: “This is planned to be a small family home with two children who, through no fault of their own, have to be looked after by Hartlepool Borough Council.
“We’ve got a proven track record of being able to manage a children’s home and provide the best quality of care for Hartlepool children.
“Children do not come into care due to anti-social behaviour, there are many factors, the majority of this is due to their parents being unable to look after them.”
The site is a mid-terrace two storey property with a kitchen and living room on the ground floor and 3 bedrooms and bathroom on the first floor.
Coun James also raised the importance of the site and other children’s homes have sprinklers and said she was disappointed this was not included in the plans.
This was backed by other councillors on the committee and the applicant said they would consider installing sprinklers at the site.
Nic Marko, Local Democracy Reporting Service