Call for ‘nuisance’ home for children to be closed

A SENIOR councillor has called for a controversial children’s home to be closed because it is making neighbours’ lives a misery.

Ray Howard wants Castle Point Council to revoke planning permission for the home in Thorney Bay Road following a string of complaints since it first opened in early 2009.

Neighbours have complained they are routinely abused by the children there and have also had stones thrown at them.

The home caters for children aged between 13 and 18 in the care of Essex Social Services.

It was originally granted planning permission by the council under delegated powers, meaning it was only considered by officers and not councillors.

Mr Howard contested the decision at the time, fearing the trouble the home would cause in a cramped, urban area, but now wants planning permission to be revoked by the Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities.

It is potentially time consuming and costly, as the authority could be ordered to pay full compensation for loss of use.

Mr Howard said: “I know it’s expensive, but I think Castle Point owes it to these people. This home has made their lives a misery and they did not even allow councillors a say in the planning.”

Steven Cole, chairman of Canvey Neighbourhood Watch, spoke out about the problems at the recent Canvey West Neighbourhood Meeting. He said: “This is a daily nightmare. Residents have been verbally abused, had things thrown at them while they’re in their gardens.

“They have young children who can’t go into their garden, they are virtually prisoners in their own homes.

“I’ve been told one of the neighbours is under going therapy because of the problems it’s causing.”

But Sue Potton, who owns the home, disputes the various claims.

She said: “I’ve not seen my children do any of these things.

“I’m not sure where these neighbours are coming from.

“These are very vulnerable children who need to be protected.”