Former pub in Fenland town can become care-leavers home after council decision is overturned

A FORMER Fenland pub can be used as a care-leavers home after a planning inspector ruled the change from a children’s home will create an “improved neighbourly occupation”.

Change of use of the former Cock pub in Chatteris was refused earlier this year after Fenland District Council considered the noise and disturbance from the home would be detrimental to the surrounding area.

However, the Continuum Group can now go ahead with its plans after planning inspector Peter Golder overturned the decision.

Planning permission was granted in 2004 to convert the former pub in London Road into a children’s home, on condition that residents were aged up to 17 and there were a maximum of seven residents. The use ceased in January.

Continuum will now use the home for up to four young people aged 16-24.

Mr Golder said: “It is clear that the essential purpose of the regime is to enable those who leave care and are over 16 years old to be offered the support and guidance to become more independent and self-sufficient with a view to living on their own as soon as possible.

“An objective assessment points to there being every prospect of the different nature of the support regime, coupled with fewer more mature residents, resulting in an improved neighbourly occupation.”

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Over the last two years police were called to the home on average once a month. Some were for missing persons but others have been for criminal behaviour.

However, the council’s environment protection team has not received complaints about the behaviour.

Mr Golder said: “This suggests to me that those living nearby have not been sufficiently troubled by any serious and persistent noise and disturbance to make complaints to the council.

“Therefore while I understand the concerns expressed by the council and the apprehensions of nearby residents, I find no evidence in this particular case to suggest that matters would be materially worse were the proposal to go ahead.”

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