Protests over care home

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Residents of a Preston village are up in arms over plans to create a care home for six youngsters on their doorsteps.

Neighbours in Haighton, near Preston, have sent letters of objection to Preston Council against proposals to convert a property into a home for young people aged six to 19, with complex learning difficulties.

The plan is to create a “family home” for the youngsters, but residents fear it would “blight nearby properties”, and “the character and reputation of the area would be adversely affected”.

Councillors will debate the application at Preston Council’s planning committee meeting today, after it was called in by Coun Neil Cartwright to discuss the effect on the local community.

Coun Cartwright said: “Local residents aren’t really clear about what will be going on there. I have asked for it to be called in so the world at large can have a clear idea from the applicants of what’s proposed.”

Priory Group has submitted the application relating to an existing four-bedroomed house and outbuildings in grounds on the north side of Cow Hill. The proposal is for it to be converted into a home for young people who have complex learning difficulties including behavioural, emotional and social difficulties and autism. The youngsters would attend Oliver House School in Chorley, which is run by the applicant.

A report to councillors says: “The applicant has confirmed that the calm and tranquil environment of the application site is the sort of environment needed for the young persons who would be cared for.”

Haighton Parish Council sent a list of reasons for objecting, and 36 letters of objection have also been received.

Simon Shaw, policy and parliamentary manager at the National Autistic Society, said: “It’s really important for communities to have a better understanding of what autism is and how it affects the day-to-day lives of those living with the condition. Only with greater awareness we will ensure that some of the most vulnerable members of our society are helped to reach their full potential”