CASEBOOK: Appeal cases - Community Facilities - Local concerns about children's home overruled

The change of use of a vicarage in Greater Manchester to a home capable of housing eight children has been allowed despite concerns among local residents that it would undermine their quality of life due to the anti-social behaviour of the occupants.

While accepting that fear of such behaviour was a material consideration, the inspector determined that its perception alone was not determining.

He noted that the operator proposed a series of sanctions against children who broke the rules and would work within a monitoring framework established by the National Care Standards Commission. The commission had the power to close the home if the operator failed to comply with statutory requirements on the treatment and behaviour of children, he pointed out.

In allowing the appeal, he awarded partial costs in favour of the appellant.

The council had failed to produce evidence that the development was unsustainable and that the security fencing would harm the character and appearance of a conservation area, he ruled. However, he accepted that the council had not been unreasonable in refusing permission based on the perceived adverse impact on the quality of life for local residents.

DCS No: 53168649; Inspector: Paul Griffiths; Inquiry.

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