Change of use for Chatteris children’s home rejected by Fenland Council
AN opportunity to reduce criminal behaviour at a children’s home in Chatteris might have been missed, according to a police report.
Fenland District Council has refused permission to change the use of the home in London Road to a care leavers’ home, for four young people aged between 16 and 25.
But a police force architectural liaison officer had told the council: “A more structured community, providing facilities and accommodation to assist young adults with the knowledge and capacity to go out into society as a valued member, would decrease calls to the emergency services.”
Over the past 24 months, police were called to the home 23 times. Some were reports of children returning late, but others were more serious incidents of criminal behaviour.
The refusal by the council’s planning committee went against a recommendation from officers, who said the new plan could have produced “advantages for residents”. A neighbourhood policing sergeant also believed the plan would have a lesser effect on the locality.
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Chatteris Town Council had recommended refusal and three letters of objection were received from residents who feared the change of use could result in serious crime and anti-social behaviour issues.
Rejecting the scheme to change the use of the currently unoccupied building, the planning committee ruled: “The proposal would have a detrimental impact upon the residential amenity of neighbouring properties.”
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They also cited “noise and disturbance” as another reason for rejection of the planning application.
The children’s home currently has permission for a maximum of seven residents, up to the age of 17.
Planners said the evidence of genuine fear was “limited” despite past problems and that any potential issue with crime “has to be gauged against the need for the facility”.