Express & Star

Dudley residents up in arms over plan to open children's home in former offices

Residents in a street are up in arms over plans to set up a children's home in former offices.

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The house

Planning agent Malm Consulting has lodged an application to change the use of the detached house in The Broadway in Dudley, known as Tracey Wilder House.

But campaigners claim the site is unsuitable following allegations of antisocial behaviour.

The Broadway resident Tracey Hill said: "The site is already housing young people although it's not been approved yet.

"We are very concerned, not so much that it's a children's home, as we know they have to be looked after somewhere, but how it's whether the peace and quiet of the street is going to be disturbed.

"Just a few nights ago there was a commotion and residents reported they could hear shouting. We understand the police were subsequently called.

"This area is usually a quiet community with young families and elderly residents who are now feeling intimidated by youths congregating outside their front doors.

"We are worried for the safety of our young children and for people who have been living here for a long time. We will be objecting to the application at the meeting on Wednesday."

Castle and Priory ward representative Councillor Karl Denning said he had been approached by the residents regarding the plans.

"We are fully behind the objectors and will be opposing it. West Midlands Police doesn't often object to things, but it's objected to this - therefore we think it's an unsuitable location.

"There is another children's home nearby where officers logged 40 phone calls in August alone and there's already been issues at The Broadway site."

The planning application states: "Approval is sought for a change of use from office to a care home. This care home would be specifically run as a residential children’s home for up to two children. The children would be between seven and 17 years in age.

"The proposed facility is intended to provide a young person with care on a short- to medium-term basis, with an expectation that after this the children would move onto permanent families.

"The facility would also receive emergency referrals on a short-term basis (for example during a transition period between care home to foster family, respite reasons or due to a referral based on the health and physical aspect of the home).

"The applicant confirms that the children would be classed as low risk, with no history of violence, and willing to participate in all activities both educational as well as physical.

"The children would be educated off site, within mainstream schools."

Members of Dudley's planning committee are due to make a decision on the plans on Wednesday.(13)