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Planning bid for children’s home on Latton Common Road

News / Sun 26th May 2024 at 10:50am

A PLANNING application for a children’s home on Latton Common Road has been submitted to Harlow Council.

The application is for the following: Change of use of residential dwelling and outbuilding from Use Class C3 (Residential Dwelling) to Use Class C2 (Residential Care Home for up to six children/young persons between the ages of 13-18 years of age) along with retrospective planning consent sort for the installation of replacement sash windows.

There has already been a number of objections including one very detailed one.

The objection states:

We wish to make you aware of the strong objections that we have with regard to the proposed development of the existing property at the above address. I have been a resident of Clifton Hatch for several years and moved to the area because of its peaceful secluded location with no commercial activity nearby. We are of the view that the proposed development will have a serious impact on our standard of living.

Our specific objections are as follows.

Detrimental impact upon residential amenities

The applicant has made a number of unsupported assertions in the planning and heritage statement that they have submitted which I wish to address and rebut.

Para 11.2 – The applicant asserts that the use proposed carries no greater level of disturbance than any other 6-bedroom property. – The site is proposed to have 6 children resident with 3 staff members on site 24hrs a day with a manager between the hours of 07:00 – 17:00. This will result in car movements each day of 6-7 cars being on site at 07:00 when they change shifts. This will happen twice a day with a following minibus collection to take the children to school on weekdays. The location of the site at the end of what is effectively a cul-de-sac funnels all the vehicle noise into Clifton Hatch and will result in considerable disturbance to residents 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year and clearly causes a greater disturbance than a 6-bedroom residential property.

As a residential care home, it will require a professional fire alarm that will require testing weekly adding to the disturbance. As previously mentioned, the location of the site funnels noise into Clifton Hatch.
10 people at the address is likely to generate a considerable amount of refuse, the local bin collections are alternate weeks for recycling and rubbish. There is no mention in the proposal of how the applicant is to manage the storage of waste and mitigate odours and vermin etc.

Para 11.6 – Acknowledges a potential increase in crime, yet a local area risk assessment has not been completed and there has been no apparent consultation with local police to seek their views. The applicant acknowledges that this is a risk, yet this is not addressed. Had a risk assessment been conducted the applicant would have found that the area next to the proposed care home is used by local drug dealers to deliver drugs to waiting vehicles, this has previously been reported by residents to Essex police.

The proposed development is also opposite a licenced premises.

The applicant states that an assessment will be completed and made available to Ofsted, we would suggest that the assessment should have been done as part of the planning application process in order for the planning committee to make a fully informed decision.

Children in Local authority care placed in residential care homes have a missing persons rate of 1 in 10 as opposed to a rate of 1 in 200 in the wider population. Each incidence of a child under 18 being reported missing requires a police attendance to the address to conduct a room search and to conduct local enquiries with neighbours, including CCTV enquires at an average cost of £1500 per incident to the local constabulary. ( figures obtained from office of national statistics) The location of the property next to a large open space with wooded areas and ponds is likely to cause considerable concern to police should a child abscond.

9.12 – “The proposed use will contribute to social inclusion within this sustainable location” – This assertion has been made without any evidence or reasoning. What significant or meaningful interaction do they expect local residents to have with 13 to 18-year-old children and staff?

9.18 – The loss of this property as housing stock, the property is a large family home with a substantial garden and outbuildings. Unfortunately, it went to auction instead of general sale, had it been advertised for sale via a traditional estate agent we are sure it would have attracted considerable attention due to its potential and favourable location in a quiet residential area.

9.19 – The applicant relies on a vague e-mail from Kay Muncey of Essex County Council stating that Essex Council support service development to increase residential placements, it is presented as an endorsement of the current proposal when it is not.

12.2 – The applicant asserts that the change of use will not significantly alter the character of the dwelling and will not result in a significant or substantial increase in traffic movements to and from the property. The change of use from a residential property to a business is de facto a significant alteration to the character of a property. The current planning permission use is as a family home. Prior to this proposal there were 2 cars at the property, the proposed increase to 4 on a weekday with two shift change overs of 6-7 vehicles at a time is demonstrably a significant increase in traffic movements to and from the property which will cause a significant disturbance and nuisance to the neighbouring properties for 365 days a year.

12.4 – The applicant states that the proposal will not result in a detrimental impact on neighbour amenity. I believe the points raised above demonstrate that this is patently untrue.

We believe the proposal is to the detriment of the quality, character and amenity value of the area, as outlined in the points above.

The site is in a predominantly residential area where occupiers could reasonably expect a level of amenity concurrent with the property. The use of the site as a residential care home for looked after children introduces a diverse element that by reason of the use is likely to result in noise, disturbance and nuisance to the detriment of neighbour’s residential amenity.

We would be grateful if the council would take our objections into consideration when deciding this application.

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The full application can be seen on the planning page of Harlow Council’s website.

Go to : HW/FUL/24/00162 

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3 Comments for Planning bid for children’s home on Latton Common Road:

Resident
2024-05-26 11:39:21

I think this would be a great idea if the children were properly supported and given access to services to improve prospects and reduce any anti-social or criminal behaviour. The age range will create a magnet for any existing antisocial networks. It's incredibly likely they will be attracted to the area where the shops are, again likely to have friends from other areas joining them. the road and common is used heavily by walkers, cyclists and dog walkers. Any antisocial behaviour from this property is likely to cause problems for anyone using this area. It's a terrible idea, it is a known fact that moving people with a history of antisocial behaviour and criminal activity have a detrimental effect on the local area rather than changing their behaviour through interaction with the existing community. That property could be put to better use.

Unknown
2024-05-26 18:26:56

It used to be a children’s home years ago anyway

Save Bush Fair
2024-05-26 19:27:48

Sounds like another 6 teenagers to hang out at the Changing Lives Community Services Hub at Bush Fair. Not sure who is supposed to supervise that place but most afternoons its just loads of dysfunctional teenagers hanging around the benches smoking/swearing or kicking a ball about.?

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