Residents’ fury over plans for Mansfield children’s home

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

Furious residents on a leafy Mansfield street say a legal loophole is being exploited to quietly push through plans for a young persons’ home on their doorstep.

Blueprints have been submitted to convert the large property on High Oakham Road into a home for troubled people aged between 16 and 25.

Coun Steve Garner

Coun Steve Garner

But because the applicant, Cambian Group PLC, is seeking a lawful development certificate rather than full planning permission, the firm is not legally obliged to advertise their intentions.

Letters have not been sent out to neighbours, and no planning notices have been attached to lampposts on the street to alert residents, which is standard practice during the planning stages.

Bewildered residents say the first they knew about the plans was when Mansfield district councillor, Stephen Garner, came knocking after spotting on the council’s planning lists.

He is now backing their fight against the home.

Coun Garner said: “They do not have to advertise this, and this is something that needs addressing.

“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.”

Leigh Williams, who lives next to the property on High Oakham Road, added: “It’s been done way under the radar, if it wasn’t for the councillor who told me, we would never have known about it, it’s not something you check every five minutes.”

The plans are to convert the home into accommodation for up to four young people, and two members of staff to provide round-the-clock care.

The current occupiers of the property did not want to comment when approached by Chad, but did say ‘all we are doing is selling a house’.

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.

But Mr Williams added: “It’s not because of what it is, it’s the commercial element.

“It would be the same if it was to be turned into a mechanics’ yard.

“What level of care will be required as well? They (Cambian) have other establishments around the country with high fences - are they going to need that here?

“This is not the street to do it, we’re all 50-plus and retired.

“Personally, I don’t care if it affected the value of my property, its not about making money, I moved here because I wanted to live here.

“I just don’t think Cambian have not taken the residents into consideration.”

But Cambian have defended their move, saying it is ‘aligned to standard practice for such developments’, but said the views of residents were vitally important.

A spokesman said: “Our neighbours are important to us and the people who we support, and as we progress we will make sure that we will work closely with our local community to ensure they fully understand what we are doing and allay any concerns.

“The service planned for this property is for up to four children and young adults, supporting children recovering from mental ill health, we expect each young person to stay up to 24 months and with support access the local community as part of their recovery.

“We have several of these services throughout the UK and they have caused no issues and are very much seen as a key part of the local community.”