Residents raise concerns that proposed children's home in Lytham St Annes is in unsuitable location

Concerns have been raised about the suitability of a property for a planned children's home on the Fylde coast - but the applicants say there are no issues.
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Residents living close to a proposed children's home in St Annes have raised concerns that the location of the property is not suitable or safe.

Residents say a proposed children's home is too lose to a railway lineResidents say a proposed children's home is too lose to a railway line
Residents say a proposed children's home is too lose to a railway line

They say its close promiximity to an adjacent railway line, its location on a busy and dangerous road with a bend in it and cases of drug dealing in the wider vicinity make it an unsafe locality for vulnerable young people.

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Residents in the area have also complaimed that there has been limited information about the plans divulged to those living close to the site.

However, applicants Creative Living Care Ltd say the location has been fully assessed and is deemed suitable for the plans.

The proposals come at a time when concerns have been raised at Fylde Council about a growing number of children's homes in the borough, at such a rate that they are exceeding actual need and bringing in young people from outside Lancashire.

The application has been lodged with Fylde Council for a change of use of a dwellinghouse (Use Class 3) to a residential children's care home for three young people (under 18 years of age), with non-resident carers, at an address of St Andrew's Road South.

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The proposals include some property conversion work and a side/rear extension.

Ken Cridland, a retired teacher who lives close to the property, said a combination of factors meant that the proposed home did not met criteria set by Ofsted.

He said: "As someone who used to work in education I think it's important that that any 'looked after' young people who come to live in these homes are in a safe environment.

"Any occupant of that building will be able to use get through the fence and be on a dangerous railway line.

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"The S bend in the road directly outside makes it particularly unsafe and there have been several accidents on it.

"A number of children at these homes regularly abscond and put themselves - and sometimes other people - in danger."

Mr Cridland added that the land in questions also included a covenent which put legal restrictions on the use of the property.

He said: "The covenant states that no trade should be carried on the land and that nothing there should be likely to to lead to a nuisance or annoyance - and it should only be used as a private dwelling house.

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"Ofsted have been informed of these concerns - it isn't a suitable location."

However Matt Hughes, a qualified social worker who is director of Kirkham-based Creative Care Ltd, said: "As a company we are not unqualified people who have gone into this lightly, we are knowlegable about what we do.

"We provide nurturing opportunities for young people in a safe and structured environment and allow them to learn life skills which can help them in their lives.

"The properties we used are always assessed fully to ensure they are suitable and safe for what we do."

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He added: "The young people who we work with come from this area and we give them the opportunity to live in the area they want to , which is important to us." The plans are to be determined by Fylde's planning committee, where they will be subjected to full debate, and are provisionally set to go before members on March 20.

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