Planning inspector rejects Telford children's home appeal

A planning inspector has rejected an appeal over plans to use a house as a care institution for young people in Telford.

Esland Care applied for a “lawful development certificate” which would have allowed it to use Whitefields Farm, Charlton, near Wellington, to house up to three children or young people with overnight carers.

The Derbyshire-based company had claimed that there was “no material difference” between its current classification as a dwelling, and their proposed use, but Telford & Wrekin Council refused the application in July.

Esland appealed, but the council's decision has now been upheld by the Planning Inspectorate.

Inspector Martha Savage said that “tutors, care workers, the house manager and social workers” visiting the property would generate “significantly greater” traffic along the single-track Tiddiecross Lane than a standard home would.

A planning statement, submitted with the original application by Adrian Rose on behalf of Esland Care, said: “The purpose of the home would be to support children to build their confidence and help them in developing life skills and re-engaging them into education.”

Two carers would sleep overnight and additional staff and contractors would visit during the day.

Mr Rose said: “This application is to ensure that the property acquired will meet the necessary planning requirements and also will be able to achieve Ofsted registration.”

In her decision notice, Ms Savage said applicants were required to show “on the balance of probability, that the proposed development is lawful”, but said Esland Care relied on a 2010 planning guidance document that has since been superseded.

“The appellant states there would be no internal or external alterations to the building or surrounds,” she added.

“In practice, as suggested by the council, I consider it likely that some modifications are likely to be necessary to ensure the property complies with the relevant regulations.

“However, no details has been provided as to what these might comprise and I cannot be sure what the effect of any changes might be.”

She added that, in appeal documents, Esland Care argued that the house could, in its current use class, “be used as a house in multiple occupation for up to six people, all owning cars”.

Ms Savage says “no evidence has been submitted to suggest that the property is currently used in this way”, and, even if it were, “I consider it likely that the movements generated by the proposed use, including tutors, care workers, the house manager and social workers, would be significantly greater.”

She added: “Given the rural nature of the area and the fact that the appeal site is accessed via a road which is generally single-track, any increase in vehicle movements is likely to have an impact on the wider area.”

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