Childrens’ care home is approved despite opposition by Shirenewton residents

PLANS to convert a four-bedroom house in Shirenewton into a residential care home for children with behavioural difficulties, have been approved by Monmouthshire council.

At the planning meeting, members discussed the application made by Care UK, to accommodate four young people with behavioural issues between the ages of 10 and 16, at a large detached dwelling in Brookacre, Earlswood.

The meeting heard representations from one local resident, as well as Shirenewton Community councillor, Susie Squires, who both opposed the application.

Local resident, Paul Harris argued that “these types of children would have a negative impact on the Earlswood community”.

Cllr Squires further argued that the plans would breach policy guidelines by not providing local employment. Mark Williams, Operations manager at Care UK Children’s Services, advised the meeting that this was not correct, saying: “In fact many of the members of staff that would be transferred to work at the home live locally. One in Abergavenny, two in Newport and one in Cwmbran.”

He also expressed his concern that the children he looked after were being “demonised”.

A number of councillors suggested that it was not in the remit of the planning department to make decisions on Social services matters, with Cllr Maureen Powell saying: “Is this really a planning issue?” Cllr Ron Stewart added that children who came from difficult backgrounds still needed to be looked after and that the home would provide them a positive opportunity. He said: “In regards to the residents’ fears – I doubt they will experience any problems whatsoever.”

A vote was taken with eight approving, six opposing and one abstention.

Care UK, provides medium to long term residential child care placements for young people who need higher than normal levels of supervision.

The home will employ seven full-time members of staff, with at least two members of staff on site at all times working a 48 hour shift pattern.