Plans to turn detached houses in Halesowen into a residential home for youngsters have been passed by councillors, despite fears about drugs and that children in a nearby school could be harmed.
Members of Dudley’s development committee overwhelmingly passed the plan to convert the five bedroom home on Springfield Road at its meeting on Tuesday.
The detached house will now become a residential unit for three youngsters between the ages of eight and 18 years old.
The application by PCF Residential Childcare Ltd stated it would be used for young people “experiencing developmental difficulties and problematic early life experiences including attachment disorder, emotional behaviours and moderate to low learning difficulties”.
Councillors backed the scheme despite claims by residents there were already traffic problems in the area and the home could lead to further congestion.
Some residents also feared very young children at an adjacent school could be affected by the actions, or influenced by, young people with behavioural problems.
Recommending councillors approve the change of use, planning officers stated: “It is considered that the size and scale of the building, the lack of any significant alterations and the nature of the care whereby a small number of children/young people live to offer a stable environment is akin to a residential use.
“There would be space within the site to provide amenity areas and parking for the proposal, and although fears of anti-social behaviour have been raised, West Midlands Police have not objected to the application.”
Councillors also passed a similar application for a two bedroomed residential child care home in Lidden Road after they heard objections from a local resident.
The scheme was for a two bedroomed respite home for youngsters with learning difficulties and autism looked after by two care workers.
Mrs Valerie Bentley, a local resident objecting to the scheme said: “We don’t think it’s a suitable location for such a facility.
“Everyone in Lidden Avenue, and I have spoken to all of them, are would be objectors.
“Our main concerns are nursing levels, two people with severe disabilities, one member of staff is not adequate.
“There will be drugs retained on the premises, there will be severe problems with parking there.”
“We are worried about drugs and we are worried about security.”
Responding Penelope Kelly, a director of Hap Care Ltd said: “We think that Lidden Road is an absolutely perfect location for this facility being in a residential area.
“We want to provide a home away from home for these young people whose parents, for whatever reason, can’t cope with them.”
She added the only drugs on the premises would be prescribed by the children’s GPs and there would be two care workers on site at all times.
Cllr Caroline Perks, backing the application, said she had extensive experience of working with youngsters with learning difficulties.
“These youngsters are just like your own sons and daughters and there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of and if you make friends with them, you will find they embrace your lives as well.”
Councillors unanimously supported the scheme.