Extension to care home for vulnerable men refused

The near doubling in size of a home for vulnerable men has been ‘rejected’ by a council after several objections from local residents.

Sukhpreet and her family in their garden, which the proposed extension would have overlooked
Sukhpreet and her family in their garden, which the proposed extension would have overlooked

Dartmouth House, a privately-owned nursing care home on Handsworth Wood which caters for adult patients with a variety of mental health problems, had applied to add a further 13 rooms to its current 15-room facility.

However in a meeting on July 30, the council’s planning committee effectively voted to reject the proposals subject to further information, with a final decision expected after the summer with ‘a view to refuse’.

Councillors’ main concerns were the scale of the proposed development and the impact on local children of anti-social behaviour stemming from the home.

The application has also seen several objections from the local community in the area, with two nearby foster homes, social workers and the local primary school all writing to the council to voice their concerns.

And they were joined in their protests by Councillor Narinder Kooner, who wrote to each member of the committee raising her objections.

These included the need for the committee to consider the safeguarding duty of the local authority and the negative impact on local residents.

It also gave weight to objections raised by professionals who directly work with young children, as opposed to "a generic comment from an official sitting in an office at the trust."

She also questioned why a similar application had been refused by a previous planning officer in 2019, but this one was being recommended for approval.

She also highlighted the fact that police were called out to the current premises 167 times last year as a result of disturbances.

Speaking after the meeting Ifeoma Woodlock and Sukhpreet Rana, two of the leading voices against the development, said they were glad that the ‘right decision’ had been made for the community.

And they thanked the local community and Councillorr Kooner for their support, saying the whole experience had ‘brought the residents together’.

They said: "We are glad the planning committee made the right decision for the community.

"The foster children and careers are elated and relieved that this ordeal is over.

"We would like to say a big thank you to our local Councillor Narinder Kooner for supporting us through this stressful ordeal.

"Also to our planning consultant Sian Griffiths for providing guidance and support with the planning process and her Herculean efforts.

"We are so proud to be apart of the Handsworth Wood community, this whole experience has brought the residents together."

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