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Children's home plan allowed to go ahead after government inspector overrules council

A government inspector has overruled the council and allowed a plan for a children’s home to go ahead.

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Sandwell Council House

Sandwell Council had refused a move by KBD Care to convert the house in Huskison Close, Oldbury, into a residential home for three children saying the planned conversion would be disruptive for neighbours and cause parking problems.

But the decision has now been declared null and void with government planning inspectors overruling the council and ruling the work can now go ahead.

The application attracted more than 40 objections and a 22-signature petition was handed to planners with the concerns of neighbours including the potential for anti-social behaviour. The objectors said they were also concerned that a residential home would be “out of character with a family estate” and the “comings and goings” would create more noise and disturbance.

But the government planning inspector disagreed with neighbours and the council’s planners declaring the children’s homes would be no different to any other home.

“I do not consider that the proposal would generate activities that would be significantly different to a family home, nor would the visual appearance of the property be altered to such a degree that would harm the character of the area,” the inspector said.

The inspector’s report also dismissed concerns the children’s home would be disruptive for neighbours or attract more anti-social behaviour.

There was “no substantiated evidence” that the children’s home would attract more anti-social behaviour, the inspector said, and the proposed three parking spaces would be enough to cater for the converted home.

“Whilst I recognise concerns regarding the possibility that this proposal may set a precedent for similar developments, a generalised concern of this nature does not justify withholding permission in this case,” the planning inspector said. “Furthermore, it is necessary for me to consider the appeal on its own merits and I have found it to be acceptable and in accordance with policy.”

Sandwell Council’s planners had argued the residential home would be noisier and more disruptive for neighbours when they rejected the application last year.

“Whilst there would be no obvious physical features that distinguish the property from a normal family dwelling, there would be other notable differences in its use,” the council had said. “These differences included staff change-over, early in the morning and late in the evening, weekdays and weekends. This would be very noticeable to neighbouring occupiers, marking the property as something other than a dwelling house, especially in the location proposed which is a cul-de-sac and therefore likely to experience less passing traffic noise.”