Fears raised over plans for new children's home in village
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An application to convert a bungalow into a children's home has received fierce opposition from neighbours who say they fear the conversion will ruin their "tranquil and peaceful" rural homes.
Norfolk County Council has lodged an application to convert a bungalow on Foulsham Road, in Hindolveston, North Norfolk into a children's home.
If approved, the conversion would see the four-bedroom property used as a home for up to two young people aged 12 to 17 at a time, with emotional and, or behavioural difficulties.
In supporting documents NCC, said the aim of the home was to "provide residential services for young people for whom either family, foster care, mainstream residential or other community-based placements are not possible or desirable at the time."
When asked to provide more detail on the plan for the property and who it would cater for, the authority said the rural location of the home was "considered necessary in order to initially remove and at times isolate young people from existing negative relationships."
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It said experience showed "a rural setting helps to break cycles of criminality and exploitation" and having access to nature and the outdoors was positive and the rurality of the proposed home would ensure, nature could be "safely accessible in order to achieve the best possible outcomes."
However, the application has been met with opposition, both from people living in the village and North Norfolk District Council which said the application had "not sufficiently demonstrated the need or appropriateness of the site for the loss of a market dwelling in favour of a children’s home."
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Objecting to the bid, Peter and Joyce Peloe, said they were concerned the conversion would "clearly change the nature of what is currently a quiet domestic residence in a tranquil and peaceful setting."
They said: "While my wife and I had planned to spend the rest of our lives in our one and only home, in this most tranquil part of Norfolk, we now fear that the peacefulness and quality of life will be interrupted and permanently undermined on so many levels."
While Alex and Louisa Waters expressed concern about the amount of detail in the application and raised concerns that the home could "compromise" the "safe and secure environment" in which they had chosen to bring up their children.
Lee Napper, assistant director of social work resources at NCC, said the local authority aspired to provide "the very best care and support possible for the children and young people" and was committed to providing small-scale residential home placements within Norfolk so children and young people could stay within their communities.
He said: "It is likely if permission is granted for this home it would only provide places for a maximum of two children.
“All our children’s homes are Ofsted inspected and our managers would always look to have positive community relationships and take all steps to support and address any concerns residents have.”