Children's care home plan for former Wolverhampton youth centre
A former Wolverhampton youth centre could be turned into a children's home despite a number of objections from neighbours.
Plans have been lodged to turn the Mirage Youth Centre building, in Howland Close, in Pendeford, into a nine-bedroom care home for up to six children with learning difficulties.
Applicant Anoop Nath initially submitted the planning application last November, but it was non-determined at the time as a flood risk assessment needed to be carried out, which has now been included in the resubmission.
However, planning bosses at Wolverhampton Council have received four letters of objection and a further letter signed by six people.
Issues raised by residents include fears of crime and anti-social behaviour from children living in the home, disruption and road safety fears caused by the coming and going of staff and visitors’ cars, noise disturbances and parking concerns.
Following consultation, the Environment Agency also objected to the plans due to data discrepancy.
The centre, which has been vacant for some time, is situated at the end of the close road near to fields and open land, as well as a number of homes.
In a report to the council, planning officer Jennifer Nicholds said: "The Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) submitted with the application has stated that the Environment Agency data is out of date and that the site is no longer in flood risk zone three and therefore the application does not require a FRA.
“The Environment Agency have requested evidence of this and will not remove their objection without it. The applicant is in talks with them to resolve this.
“This premises has been vacant for some time now, but any disturbance to neighbours from cars coming and going would not be considerably different to that of the youth centre when it was open, or a residential household of that size.
“The building is detached and not directly adjacent to any homes.
"This would provide a service to children in need of care and bring an empty building back into good use.
"A number of internal changes will need to be made to create the en-suite bedrooms – six for children and three for staff.
“There will also be a kitchen, office, sensory room, living area, dining area, TV room, reception and bathroom.
“The children living here will be under 24-hour care from staff who will be trained and qualified in line with Ofsted requirements."
The report recommends the council grant permission subject to any necessary conditions, including an up-to-date FRA to overturn the Environment Agency objection.
It will be discussed at Wolverhampton Council's planning meeting on Tuesday.