‘We’re in the dark’ on children’s home idea

Sea View Drive property . Potential for a  Child home pic Richard Ponter 154714
Sea View Drive property . Potential for a Child home pic Richard Ponter 154714

Residents say they were kept in the dark about a new children’s home that they fear will send the value of their sea-view homes tumbling.

Neighbours are furious they weren’t consulted about the incoming home and its future inhabitants, even though it will accommodate no more than two children.

Some, like Jennifer Jones, claim it will bring an “unwelcome element” into Sea View Drive. “There has been no consultation in this area, no leaflets – nothing,” said Jennifer, who has lived there for 14 years.

Scarborough Council say that’s because there was no reason to. The home is understood to have been bought by the Cambian Group, a leading children’s services provider.

The group bypassed the planning process by successfully requesting a Lawful Development Certificate.

This method allows an applicant to seek confirmation as to whether a use is in fact lawful and therefore does not require planning permission.

The certificate was awarded back in June, but Jennifer claims that it was only after a recent chat with builders that residents discovered what was being built at the former residential property.

And she added: “This area is predominately made up of retired residents, so I think that it’s totally inappropriate to have a children’s home.

“I live directly opposite it and if the council had made us aware of it opening then I would have opposed it from the start as would the other neighbours.”

One of those neighbours, who wouldn’t be named, added: “I just worry about what sort of element it will attract to the area, the fear is if they are teenagers then it will bring an undesirable element to what’s a nice peaceful street.”

Residents are so concerned about the imminent opening of the home, they’ve contacted local councillor Eric Broadbent to fight their corner.

The Labour politician said he’s looked into the case, and while legally the council didn’t have to notify residents, he thinks that ethically the authority shouldn’t have kept residents in the dark.

“This is causing misery among the elderly people in that area,” said Cllr Broadbent.

“It’s terrible how this is allowed to happen without a fallback position.

“There should be some sort of safeguarding where there’s a consultation period of some sort, where even if the council doesn’t need to do it, residents are still informed.

“There’s something wrong in the system - there should be more checks.”

The home is expected to open soon, with builders having worked on it for the past three months.

The Cambian Group say they will work with neighbours to ensure that “we allay their concerns as we work towards the opening of this service”.

Scarborough Council say its planning and legal officers thoroughly inspected the proposals, which it says would be no different to the property being used for normal residential use, to make sure planning permission wasn’t needed.

A spokesperson added: “Although there is no statutory requirement to consult third parties on such requests, we did publish the case on our website.”

But as residents prepare for the home’s opening, Jennifer fears it will force house prices to fall.

And she added: “If it needs to be built, then they should build it - just not around here.”