Express & Star

Controversial Wolverhampton children's home put on hold while council seeks 'legal team review'

Controversial plans for a children's home in a leafy city suburb have been put on hold pending a legal review.

11a Keepers Lane is set to be converted into a children's home

Planners at Wolverhampton Council backed a scheme that will see a house on Keepers Lane in Tettenhall converted into a children's home, despite opposition from residents.

However, it has now emerged that the plans have been put on hold while a legal team review ensures the council is "acting lawfully".

The development has been opposed by residents and Conservative councillors in the area, as well as some Labour councillors on the planning committee.

They claim the proposal is too expensive, too isolated and too dangerous for the residents.

Conservative opposition leader, Councillor Wendy Thompson, said: "I can confirm that there is a hold in place. It's very important that these houses, that are absolutely required, are put in the right places.

"This is a very narrow road, it holds a lot of traffic and it is also very expensive. We have realised that there is a need for these smaller children's homes to be in these localities, but there are places far more suited than others."

The hold was initiated after residents raised concerns with the council over the legality of the proposal, claiming that the criteria for the development of the ground were not met and that the scheme would be unsafe.

Mike Phillips, who lives on Keepers Lane, said residents felt "ignored" by the council and were determined to fight the development.

"We had no consultation about this proposal whatsoever," he said.

"You already can't get cars into the street safely. The planning committee came down on May 23 to view the place and they ended up blocking my drive because the driver didn't feel secure manoeuvring his vehicle in the road.

"It's a terribly angry feeling in this community right now, we really aren't going to let this go."

A senior Labour councillor has urged all parties to work together for the good of the city's youth.

Councillor Stephen Simkins, the Labour-run authority's deputy leader, said: "We have had a few complaints from residents near the address and they are entitled to voice their concerns.

"The policy is to look after as many vulnerable children as this council needs. We understand people's concerns and we are taking those concerns on board.

"We want everyone to work together on this and not be divided, we need to make sure that the children get the best possible care."