Plans for children’s home in a remote Stafford borough hamlet sparks opposition

Plans to open a children’s home in a remote Stafford Borough hamlet have sparked opposition from villagers.

The proposed children's home at Offley Brook near Eccleshall. Photo: Google Street View
The proposed children's home at Offley Brook near Eccleshall. Photo: Google Street View

More than 20 people have objected so far to the proposals put forward by The Keys Group, which is seeking permission from Stafford Borough Council to change the use of an existing house in Offley Brook to a residential care home. The site is more than three miles away from Eccleshall.

A planning statement submitted as part of the application said the home was located 100m away from the nearest residential property and would provide accommodation for up to five young people aged between eight and 17.

It added: “The young people who would reside in the proposed care home will have been taken into care because they are unable to live with their natural parents but are not old enough to live independently. They would be expected to leave the home on maturity to live independent lives.

“As with other Keys Group residential care homes, the home would aim to provide the young people with an environment as close as possible to a traditional family home. The applicant has considerable experience in assisting children from a variety of backgrounds with different needs."

Residents living in the area have voiced concerns about the nature of the children who would live there however, as well as the lack of facilities for youngsters locally. There are also safety worries because of open water and the single track road system.

One Offley Brook resident said: “I am personally concerned at the presence of such troubled children in our community. Should they trespass on my land, which has a number of hazards, I am concerned about my liability.

"Security is a challenge in such an open rural environment and I can ill afford to invest in increased security measures.

Plight

"Greatwood will not be a secure facility and the children will be free to move around Offley Brook as they wish.

"We cannot expect children to obey carer instructions to only leave the premises when accompanied by a carer."

Another said: "I believe that Offley Brook is an inappropriate location to house potentially troubled young people.

"Its remoteness means that the young people will have no access to facilities not contained within the property.

"This may lead them to seek entertainment inappropriately in the neighbourhood. I understand that similar establishments in nearby villages have suffered from precisely such problems.

"While I have great sympathy for the plight of such troubled young people, I believe their care would be more appropriately located in a less remote and isolated setting."

But an Offley Hay resident said: “I fully support of this application and the opportunities that having a home in this community would give to any children using this home in the hope that they might find acceptance and healing.

“With all the benefits that have been shown to improve mental health through time in nature this location has much to offer to kids who deserve much.”

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