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Objectors to controversial plan in residential area backed by council bosses
RESIDENTS who object to plans for a children’s home in the middle of a residential street have been supported by town bosses.
The application to convert 156 Pickersleigh Road in Malvern says that it will be for children with “challenging behavioural problems”, “alcohol and substance misuse” or “need emergency accommodation for asylum seekers”.
But residents fear the home may be a focus for crime and disorder, and more than 120 objections have been sent in to Malvern Hills District Council (MHDC).
They point to the proximity of the Grove School and the Howbury House respite home for elderly people, and to the number of elderly people living on their own in neighbouring properties.
The centre would house five young people and employ up to seven staff.
However, Malvern Town Council voiced its own objections at a meeting of its planning committee.
Ward member Pat Mewton said: “We should support the local people who are objecting to this application. There is a lot of unease about it.”
Resident Garry Jones said: “We’re glad the town councillors agree with us, anything that strengthens our case is welcome.
“We realise children like these need looking after, we just think this isn’t the place.
Meanwhile, we previously revealed the application to change the bed and breakfast into a home for children with behavioural or other problems had been made by controversial company G4S.
A spokesman from MHDC said the authority had no idea G4S were behind the application until we phoned but several residents have said they had told the council the company was involved.
A letter on the MHDC planning website by resident Brian Iles, of nearby Bank Street, dated July 31 – two weeks before our inquiry – refers to G4S as the applicant, claiming they have been “less than honest with regard to their true identity”.
The application lists Simon Herbert of childrenhomes-2013 as the applicant, but it has emerged this company does not exist and G4S has recently made a number of applications under the name of Mr Herbert, a commercial director at the company.
G4S hit the headlines last year after failing to provide its contracted amount of security guards for the London Olympics, forcing the Government to call in members of the armed services and recently came under fire for overcharging the Government by tens of millions of pounds for electronic tagging services.
A company said it was common practice to make applications in this way in order to avoid alerting its competitors of plans.
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