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Care home for young victims of violence to be extended

By Kerry Ashdown | Rugeley | News | Published:

A Rugeley home for girls who have experienced violence is set to be extended.

A Google Street View image of March Banks in Rugeley

First Blue Healthcare runs the home in March Banks, where up to three girls under 18 can stay at any time alongside three members of staff.

But plans to add a side extension to the property sparked objections from three neighbours and Rugeley Town Council. Concerns include the extension overlooking a neighbouring property and fears it will make existing noise problems worse.

Rugeley Town Council, in a letter to Cannock Chase Council, said: “The current development is already attracting negative attention and an extension to the development will not alleviate the issue.”

A neighbour said: “We have already had issues with music, noise and shouting at 2.30am from tenants in the property and, although this was dealt with, I am concerned an increase in tenants will bring an increase in noise. I am also concerned with parking outside the property.

Another neighbour said: “March Banks is a quite private residential cul de sac. Apparently planning was passed a while ago to turn (the property) into a residential children (and) young people’s care home with absolutely no regard to its impact or even consultation (of) any residents.

“We have had no indication of the suitability of the young people residing at the property either from the owner or council. The impact since this was granted is a constant flow of vehicles in and out of that property day and night – the staff and young residents outside regularly smoking and throwing cigarette ends in the alley beside the property, loud music (and) shouting at times late at night and regular police visits.

“Items are constantly thrown from a front facing first-floor window and left on the existing front elevation roof for weeks on and end and liquids including vomit down the front fascia. Small children live and play in this street and should not be subjected to the additional dangers that this would bring to this small private cul de sac.”

The application was recommended for approval by Cannock Chase Council planning officers however, and planning committee members went on to approve it at their meeting on Wednesday (January 15). The extension is set to create a second lounge, new dining area on the ground floor, two new bedrooms and a family bathroom on the first floor.

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Richard Lever, speaking in support of the application at the meeting, said: “The facility is operated for females 18 years or under who have been subjected to sexual and physical violence. Housing is allowed for three service users – at the moment there are only two. There is no increase in what we have the lawful use for.

“The children do not have behavioural issues and they are not on the special needs autistic spectrum – they are only girls who need a secure family environment in which to develop and eventually transition into a different stage of care.

“I’m aware there has been an objection where it has been stated police have been called to the property. That’s slightly misleading – all care homes in the area have got their own PCSO who visits all care homes on a regular basis. This is protocol set out by police.

“First Blue have a very good relationship with the neighbouring properties. although I’m aware objections have been raised by one local resident in the area. There is no additional car parking required and no additional traffic movements.”

Kerry Ashdown

By Kerry Ashdown
@KerryAshdownLDR

Local Democracy Reporter covering Staffordshire.

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