Plans for children’s home are rejected

The house on High Oakham Road, Mansfield.
The house on High Oakham Road, Mansfield.

Residents have breathed a sigh of relief after plans to open a children’s home on leafy street in Mansfield were rejected.

Details were submitted to planners to convert the large property on High Oakham Road into a facility for troubled people between the age of 16 and 25.

The applicants, Cambian Group, had been seeking a lawful development rather than planning permission, meaning they were not required to advertise their intentions.

This upset many of the neighbours, who felt the company were intentionally trying to keep their plans quiet.

However, Mansfield District Council have rejected the application for the certificate.

In a brief letter from Martyn Saxton, head of planning services at the council, he said: “Having considered all the facts of the case and relevant planning law, the application has been refused a certificate of lawful use/development.”

The news has been welcomed by ward councillor, Steve Garner, who first brought the application to the attention of the residents.

He said: “I will be challenging this for as long as it takes to preserve the peaceful tranquillity of the neighbourhood.

“We need this to be a conservation area and specifically residential, with no business encroachment.”

Coun Garner felt Cambian Group had been trying to exploit a legal loophole in not advertising their plans.

He told the Chad: “If you walk down High Oakham Road, there are tree preservation notices on most of the lampposts. You need to advertise if you are going to cut down a few branches, but you don’t need to advertise something that could affect a lot of people.

“It’s wrong, it’s a loophole that Mansfield District Council needs to look at.”

According to the application prepared on behalf of Cambian, the company provides ‘specialist residential care’ for young people with ‘nurturing home environments where they can feel safe, supported and able to progress’.

Eventually, the children could be fostered or returned home.

The company deals with young people who have been abused, have complex needs, autism or mental health issues.

Cambian have now said they will not be pursuing an appeal against the council’s decision.

A statement sent to the Chad reads: “We are disappointed by the approach taken by the planning committee, having adhered to the correct process for such developments.

“Whilst we could pursue this matter and complete this project we will now focus our effort and resource on other our developments.”

Leigh Williams, who lives next door to the property welcomed the latest news, but is seeking assurances from the council about the future of the road, and whether it could remain solely a residential area without the threat of commercial intrusion.

He said: “It’s definitely positive news from my point of view, but it’s time we pushed Mansfield District Council about what they are going to do with this area

“It would have been be the first commercial business on the street, and we think it should remain residential, it has done for over 100 years.