Coastal Quality Care Ltd have submitted an application for a Lawful Development Certificate for proposed accommodation for children and young people who may suffer with emotional and/or behavioural difficulties at a detached house located at 84 North Promenade St Anne’s FY8 2QW (depicted in featured photograph).
The existing use of 84 North Promenade is currently stated to be: ‘A residential property – 3/4 bed detached house with loads of off-street parking in the driveway at the front of the property which could comfortably hold 6 cars maybe more.’
The proposal is that this detached house: ‘Will provide care and accommodation for up to 3 young people of both sexes up to the age of eighteen. Many of these children and young people This encompasses those who have a range of complex needs based on their previous experience including attachment difficulties, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, have been the victims of child sexual exploitation, neglect, physical and emotional abuse.
The applicant, Wayne Johnson, adds that: ‘Our ethos at 84 North Promenade is to provide impeccable, bespoke and holistic care packages to children and young people whose assessed care needs we feel we can manage. Through values such as stick ability, unconditional positive warmth approach alongside the staff developing excellent working relationships with children and young people we will assist them to succeed to their full potential. There will be 2 full time members of staff on duty at all times. We will have 3 teams working on a rotation basis of 24 hours on duty and 2 days off. In addition, there will be one full time registered home manager at the property Monday to Friday and on call outside these hours. The normal working pattern for the staff will be from 8am – 11pm followed by sleep in duty from 11pm – 8am also a night staff member working from 10pm -8am the following morning. There is no structural work to be carried out on the property only the addition of fire doors, emergency lighting and smoke alarms.’
Objecting to the proposed change of use a local resident writes:
‘I wish to object to plans that have been submitted changing the building from a C3a dwelling to a business dwelling of a children’s home C2. The nature of such a business in my opinion, places the wellbeing of the proposed children who should be attending such provision at further risk of harm. The purpose of a business is to make money or it fails and collapses. I worry that this opportunity is seen as a cash cow for private gain and profit, rather than a genuine attempt to provide a caring and safe environment for unfortunate children who have complex needs. I am a designated safeguarding lead at (redacted) and I worry how fit for purpose this particular dwelling would be.
I wish to raise the following areas as a concern:
- The intended proposal states that the upstairs dwelling of the house will be used as a staff office and overnight sleep area. Thus, leaving the children unaccompanied at night on the ground floor. As such the children are not safeguarded should they wish to leave the property via their bedroom windows or the front door. This is a fundamental safeguarding issue, which a director would be aware of. Clearly a lack of experience based upon one business model has not been taken into consideration by the proposed director of Coastal Quality Care. Having worked in education for 19 years, it has become very apparent that the draw of home and family is too much for these children. I receive frequent police PVP’s in relation to looked after children. They have put themselves at risk travelling illegally across the country to meet family members, who may have restraining orders against them. The care home workers would not be aware that these children are missing due to the logistical positioning of their proposed office. This could not be rectified by moving a child upstairs as there is a balcony area which would then create a further health and safety concern. The building and layout are simply not fit for purpose.
- My next concern is the dangers of open water for children who have emotional instability and complex needs. What risk assessments have been undertaken for the location of the property for these children? In an idealistic world it sounds lovely having golden sands and the sea to play for a child with complex emotional needs. However, the reality is far from it. It saddens me to raise that our current neighbour lost her sister who battled with her own mental wellbeing. This resulted in her committing suicide walking into the sea 5 years ago. What safeguarding measures have been put in place for these children to prevent this from happening again? Further to this in August of 2020 two young boys aged 16 & 18 drowned in the same stretch of water unaware of the dangers open water and tidal variance can have on life. In reflection it heightens my previous concern over the children having open access to leave the property at any time and staff would be unaware of this until it was too late. The dangers are simply too high due to the proximity of the building to the coastline.
- There is no more than a 1 metre space for recreational activity at the rear of the property. This is the only safe and secure area of the property, creating a contained environment that these children could use. This means that they would have no option but to use the front of the building which is not secure, nor does it add mental or emotional reassurance to these individuals that they will not come into contact with the perpetrators who have previously abused them. The property does not provide a safe enclosed area, which children with such complex needs require. Being direct, the foot fall via the front of the property being on the main promenade places these children at even more risk due to the high numbers of visitors to the area. There is no way of safeguarding these children by allowing them to play at the front of the property preventing them from potentially being groomed and further abused.
- There should be a therapeutic area for children with additional needs to use for cognitive support. There is nothing planned within this site and therefore would require additional planning to build such a facility. Failure to offer a facility prevents any child from self-regulating their own emotions. Therefore, causing them greater physical or emotional harm, as they can’t access appropriate facilities to help calm them down. As stated in the proposed plans all intended children to access this dwelling will have complex needs. These simply are not being addressed or taken into consideration in the proposed plans. Such a provision could not be added without additional building work altering the size and dimensions of the property.
- Noise pollution from workers arriving and leaving at unsociable hours. The proposed changeover periods exceed the legal hours of 11.00p.m. at night. Staff finishing at this point would be disturbing the peace of the community. Should there be any altercations between staff and children throughout the night, excessive noise would be created by this business.
The concerned resident concludes by saying, ‘Aside from the worries and welfare of my own children, I worry about the wellbeing of any child. As stated, I am a designated safeguard lead with (redacted). I genuinely worry about the safety and wellbeing of the children in this care home. Not due to the children themselves, but to the immediate dangers of the local area and the lack of practical space and dimension of the proposed building. Such a provision would need to be in a more safe and secure area where such dangers aren’t imminent on the doorstep of these children.’
In support of his application, the director of Coastal Quality Care, Wayne Johnson adds: ‘I consider that a lawful development certificate should be granted for this proposal as the home itself is very suitable to meet the needs of the young people who will reside there. The property offers 4 good size bedrooms with enough space for everyone to enjoy privacy or come together for family time in one of the communal areas such as the lounge, kitchen diner or garden. There will be 3 double bedrooms for the young people and 1 double bedroom for the staff which will double up as an office. 84 North promenade is in a great location with the sand dunes across the road in which young people and staff can play for hours and make happy memories. Amenities on the doorstep and not too far from Lytham St. Anne’s, Preston and Blackpool. It is close to schools and transport links as we promote independence by supporting the young people to use public transport. This gives them the skills, confidence and self -esteem needed for adult life. I have 17 years’ experience working in the private care sector mostly with looked after children. I hold a level 3 diploma in working with children and young people and also a level 5 diploma in leadership and management. I have been a registered manager for the last 4 years and I am now also an owner and director of Coastal Quality Care. I opened my first home Carrwood Lodge in Kirkham in March 2021 after being approved planning and Ofsted registration. In this time, we have formed positive relationships with the neighbours and young people are greatly encouraged to respect the residents around us and be polite. If granted the certificate of lawful development I will employ a suitable and highly qualified manager to run the home with me as Responsible Individual overseeing 84 North Promenade, 10 Church Street, Allenby House and Carrwood Lodge. We undergo a thorough monthly inspection by an independent person as well as being inspected annually by Ofsted. My last Ofsted inspection I received Good in all areas. These areas include leadership and management, the safety and well-being of the children, education and overall progress of the child. I would greatly appreciate if you would consider my application and support this new and exciting company to provide quality care for these resilient young people who just want the chance to have the same opportunities as their peers.’