A planning application (PA) made to Forest of Dean District Council in September 2023 by a Worcestershire property developer seeks to convert a residence on a local housing estate to a private (for profit) residential care home.

Intended for three children with learning disabilities, the scheme proposes around 10 staff on shifts covering 24 hours a day, plus day manager.

Of more than 60 residents who oppose this, 25 per cent have first-hand experience with these conditions in welfare, education, and familial settings.

Care need is appreciated.

The environmental health officer indicates, such schemes are liable to noise nuisance, a potential concern for neighbouring residents in very close proximity.

Other objections include loss of amenity, suitability of premises, traffic and developer covenants that restrict use to single private dwelling only.

Apparently not material considerations in a planning context, these are a serious consideration for an established community, including its vulnerable.

The politicised PA led with a parliamentary statement, made by Rachel Maclean, then Minister of State for housing and planning on May 23 2023: “the planning system should not be a barrier to providing homes for the most vulnerable children in Society”. *

While financial brokers promote small private care homes as lucrative and highly profitable for operators, many councils are drastically overspent.

The Guardian reports high cost privately run children’s home placements of up to £10,000 a week.

A three-placement scheme can yield turnover and profits in the order of £1.5 million and £375,000 respectively, whilst local authorities reliant on 70 per cent of their funding via the taxpayer forecast bankruptcy.

Given the political side I have written to and await a viewpoint from my MP.

Construction work seems complete, and staff recruited, application pending. What informs those decisions?

“WHERE APPROPRIATE” features prominently in the statement context.

P Goulding, Newent