Angry Neighbours Demand Closure Of Children’s Home

Local home owners say youngsters from Oak House, Pellon, Halifax, are making their lives a misery with foul language, noise and anti-social behaviour. The home opened in February 2004 and is owned by Broadwood Residential which also operates another centre in Sowerby Bridge. Concerns about the company’s sister home, Maple House, in Industrial Road, were so high residents recently called a public meeting with the owners, police and Calderdale councillors, demanding it be shut down. Now neighbours in Pellon have called for action.

Daniel O’Grady, 50, of Pellon Lane, said: “Pellon residents are considering taking legal action and protesting outside the owners’ homes. We want to bring the problem to their doorsteps to give them a taste of what we have been putting up with.

“I only moved here in January and was never told about the children’s home – I wouldn’t have touched it with a bargepole otherwise. We have the same anti-social behaviour that Sowerby Bridge residents are experiencing. The situation came to a head for us earlier this month when the kids were running about with no supervision.

“There are always cars parked outside the property and police here constantly. But we won’t put up with it any longer. We want the house closed down. It doesn’t make sense to put these children into normal communities. Their behaviour doesn’t warrant it.”

Doreen Firth, 55, also of Pellon Lane, said: “The main issues for me are parking and the constant swearing. The children are very noisy and disruptive so we can’t even use our garden. We’ve tried to ignore it but now we want it closed down. I feel sorry for the children – some of them are OK. But you dare not even look at some of them. I feel unsafe and unsettled in my own home.”

Calderdale councillor Allen Clegg (Ind, Warley), said he sympathised with residents of both areas. “There have been slight upsets before, but over the last year the trouble has declined. I have great sympathy and I’m sorry to see that problems have now arisen in Sowerby Bridge and Pellon.”

Anne Marsden (Lib Dem, Sowerby Bridge), is also dealing with the problem on behalf of residents in Sowerby Bridge. “These children are making people’s lives intolerable. It seems to me they are taken into care and left to their own devices. I want anybody in Calderdale who lives near one of these homes to come forward. If we are trying to get these children’s lives back on track, and to ensure they are useful citizens when they leave the care system, we have to start now.”

Gary Smith, director of Broadwood Residential, said: “There have been some complaints about the Pellon site but not on the same scale as Maple House. But we are always open to listen to concerns. We have also talked to the Commission for Social Care Inspectorate and they are satisfied that we are trying to move things forward. It’s a sensitive issue but these children have to be looked after somewhere.

“Our children deserve to live in a natural environment as possible. It’s better that they are cared for in a small home in a residential area than in a large institution in the middle of nowhere. They have to be integrated into society at some point.”