Children’s home bid ‘is in wrong location’

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Concerns have been raised over a bid for a residential institution home for children and young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

ID has submitted a change of use application for Meadow View Farm, which is between Choppington and Bedlington.

Objections have been lodged by Station Terrace residents living close to the site, other local people, West Bedlington Parish Council and the Bedlington Forum.

Their concerns include a loss of privacy as the property overlooks the backs of the Station Terrace houses, as well as noise and other disturbance.

One of the households who objected referred to a section of a supporting statement for its other home in County Durham, which said: ‘We have identified a property within rural Northumberland where respite from The Grange will be provided if the young person’s behaviour caused disruption for other young people in the home.’

They are also worried for the welfare of the children who would live at Meadow View, given the proximity of a railway crossing and the former landfill site to the rear of the property where methane gas has to be tapped off at various points, and a lack of facilities for young people in the surrounding area.

British Transport Police has raised concerns in relation to the level crossing.

Its response submitted by crime prevention design advisor Linda Chandler includes the following: ‘Given that their emotional state is likely to be one of the principle issues they are dealing with and the location they are to be housed in will probably appear quite isolated to them, British Transport Police is very concerned of the possible effect that such immediate proximity to the tracks could have in terms of self harm.

‘If this application goes ahead, then keeping the residents away from the tracks must be viewed as a top priority for staff and will require the installation of substantial fencing along the site boundary with the tracks.’

Gordon Quince, of ID, said: “These young people are some of the most vulnerable in our society – they are not criminals.

“They have generally experienced some kind of trauma in their childhood, which has resulted in a breakdown in the family resulting in a need for them to be looked after.

“It is our job to provide a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment in which children and young people displaced from families can achieve their goals.

“Meadow View Farm has been identified as suitable residential accommodation due to its semi-rural location and the opportunities that such a large site offers. There is a significant distance (approximately 25 metres) between the main house and the nearest neighbour.

“The property lies in approximately 18 acres of land, which will enable us to create an excellent space for a range of outdoor activities.

“We would also access leisure activities provided by Blyth Valley Leisure and Active Northumberland based on the needs and wishes of the young people in our care.”

Visit the planning section at www.northumberland.gov.uk and search 16/02175/FUL to see the plans.