Planning permission needed for Whittlesey centre that supports adults with learning disabilities

Lee was encouraged to try for a part acting in Eastenders thanks to support from Thera

Lee was encouraged to try for a part acting in Eastenders thanks to support from Thera - Credit: Archant

A company that supports adults with learning disabilities is applying for retrospective planning permission for a Whittlesey shop to be turned into a meet up centre.

The shop in High Causeway is already being used a base for Thera East Anglia, a company which supports adults to live more independently.

Now they are applying for the official planning paperwork.

Among the list of success stories is a client called Lee who was encouraged to try for an acting role in Eastenders where he played a scene alongside David Essex in the poplar soap.

A planning application has been put into Fenland District Council to turn the ground floor shop into a base for people to meet and be supported during the day.

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Whittlesey Town Council has recommended the application be turned down due to concerns about highway access and public safety as there is currently a ban on vehicles from 10am to 4pm in this area.

Town councillors say they have seen vehicles dropping people off at this location.

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“The building is already being used by its organisation despite not having planning permission,” a report says.

“There is also concern about the suitability of the building with the amount of people that have been in attendance.”

The planning application says that most of the clients’ time will be spent off base at community facilities but will be used for meeting friends and support workers before attending such activities.

Two staff will be on site with an average of 25 people visiting during the day with the premises open usual office hours on Monday to Friday.

A report due to go to Fenland’s planning committee, said: There would be community benefits accruing from the scheme with regard to diversity and equality.”

Refusal on the grounds of highway safety and accessibility could not be substantiated, the report adds.

The trust began in 1998 by supporting five people in Cambridgeshire.

It now supports people across Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Peterborough, Essex and Suffolk.

The group also has a registered short breaks service called Willowdene.

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