Care Home Protesters ‘Face Defeat’

Outraged campaigners fighting to stop a home for troubled children from opening in their village are facing defeat.More than 1,300 people have called on Neath Port Talbot to block the controversial plan in Seven Sisters.

Residents have already staged a demonstration and are expected to protest outside Port Talbot Civic Centre, where planning committee members will meet tomorrow.

But unless councillors go against their own officers’ recommendation, the actions will have been for nothing.

Castle Care wants change of use consent to convert two houses in Dulais Road into a school for a small number of children and teenagers with emotional and behavioural problems.

Seven Sisters Community Council vice-chairman Cledwyn Thomas said he was annoyed to hear it was being recommended for approval.

“We have six or seven homes in Seven Sisters already and we have no problem with them,” he said.

“But would planning officers support this if it was next door to them? It makes me very angry.”

As well as the petition, 26 residents have sent their own letters of objections. They claim the children in the school might commit offences in the community and be antisocial towards pensioners and others. Other grounds for objection include the rural residential location not being suitable, traffic problems and lack of privacy.

Head of planning Geoff White rejected the objections, arguing the proposal complied with council policies.

“Fear in relation to the type of residents can be considered as a material issue,” he said.

“However, given the size of the property and the fact that up to six children could be cared for without the need for planning consent, it is considered that very little weight can be given to this. The number of existing care homes in the area is not a planning consideration.”