Blackpool children's home saved from closure

Councillors have gone against their own policy to save a Blackpool children’s home from closure.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 4:53 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 4:54 pm

Residential care provider Coastal Key Housing was faced with having to shut its home on Holmfield Road in North Shore because it contravened a newly adopted policy to prevent over-concentration of children’s homes.

Closure would have meant uprooting three teenagers currently living at the property which has been operating for three years and is considered to be one of the council’s best providers.

Patrick Meehan, a director of Coastal Key Housing, also warned closure would put the business at risk.

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Councillors voted to approve planning permission

He told the council’s planning committee he had been advised planning permission was not required when he first opened the home which provides semi-independent living for up to four teenagers aged between 16 and 17.

Since then it had emerged planning permission was needed, but in the interim another children’s home had opened on Holmfield Road meaning Coastal Key Housing was in breach of the 400 metre rule.

The rule was adopted in October last year to prevent too many homes operating in close proximity to each other.

But members of the committee agreed it would be wrong to force the closure of a home which was considered an “outstanding” operator by the council’s own children’s services department.

Coun Andrew Stansfield said the home had “unfortunately fallen foul of new regulations”. He warned moving the children would “not have a good outcome” for them.

Coun David O’Hara said there were “extenuating circumstances” to allow the home to stay open.

The committee approved a retrospective planning application despite a recommendation for refusal by planning officers.

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