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Dismay as children’s home gets go-ahead
9:00am Saturday 19th October 2013 in News
A CONTROVERSIAL proposal for a children’s home in Malvern made by security firm G4S has been given the go-ahead.
In August the Gazette revealed G4S was behind the application for the former bed and breakfast at 166 Worcester Road, despite its name not being on the application and a raft of objections had been made by residents in the area.
But last week Malvern Hills District Council granted planning permission under delegated powers. Resident of nearby Zetland Court David Bamford said he was disappointed he and his neighbours had not been given the chance to raise their concerns at a public planning committee meeting.
He said: “It is very sad that owners can be ignored in this way when there is clearly no local need and when this home will clearly stretch local police resources and cause noise and disturbance in the local area.
“There are a few conditions in the approval, but I don’t suppose that these will be a problem and will be easily rectified, as the profits G4S will be making will be huge and they will not take the chance to miss out.
“It is a shame that local officials do not seem to be accountable anymore to the very people they are supposed to serve.”
Although Simon Hebert of childrenshomes2013 is named on the application forms as the applicant, it emerged that no such company exists and Mr Herbert himself is a director of G4S.
The council’s portfolio holder for planning Coun Tony Hill said the application had been dealt with in the usual manner.
“The planning application was considered objectively and reported by planning officers to the two ward councillors (Roger Hall-Jones and Hannah Campbell) with a recommendation for approval,” he said. “Both ward members agreed the recommendation as a delegated decision so, as is standard practice, there was no need for the application to go to committee.
Mr Hall-Jones said: “I understand there are a lot of objections but none of these are planning reasons to refuse the application.What’s the alternative? We refuse it and it goes to appeal, we have to pay costs which are funded by the taxpayer? That’s not on.”
A number of conditions have been made to the planning permission, including that no more than five children will reside at the home at any one time.
It is not known when another application for a children’s home at1 56 Pickersleigh Road near Grove Primary School will be decided.
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