Planning approval for young people’s refuge in Peterborough despite neighbours’ objections

The planning meeting
The planning meeting
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Planning has been approved for the conversion of a house into a six-bedroom refuge for young people in Hampton despite objections from locals.

At Tuesday’s meeting of Peterborough City Council’s Planning & Environmental Protection Committee members heard from residents concerned at the possibility of increased levels of noise, anti-social behaviour and crime.

But their biggest concern was the lack of parking in the area around Brickton Road, Hampton Vale, which they claim is already bringing the surrounding streets to a standstill.

Appearing on behalf of his constituents Cllr Marco Cereste (Con, Hampton Vale) said: “There are already a dozen or so Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in the three streets immediately adjacent.

“While residents agree with me that there is a definite need in the city for refuge houses like this where young persons can prepare to leave the care system, this is perhaps not the right place.

“Just this weekend I walked through the area and there were dozens of illegally parked cars causing obstruction to the roads; this could be a real problem in an emergency if service vehicles cannot gain access.”

Speaking on behalf of Hampton Parish Council, Jodie Ashton said: “We have a petition signed by 116 residents in and around Brickton Road who are worried that additional vehicles, certain to be there if this application is approved, will cause chaos in the surrounding streets.”

However, Kriss Byrne, manager of Bedford-based Byrne House Ltd, which will be running the facility, told members: “We develop transitional programs to support and enable young people aged 16-25 to live in accommodation as an alternative in preparing to leave care and gaining independence.

“As I shall be the only person using a vehicle to attend Brickton Road I can offer the committee assurances that there will be no additional cars or vans blocking the road – certainly the young people we care for have no money to afford cars, or even take driving lessons.

“All of our staff are within walking distance for support services and so have no need of vehicles. The families of our young persons also prefer to meet them away from the home.”

Cllr June Stokes (Con, Orton Waterville) pointed out: “This is already a five-bedroom house, so the potential for a family to live there with three to five cars already exists.”

Committee chairman Cllr Chris Harper (Con, Stanground South) said: “While it is disappointing that you did not make any effort to listen to the concerns of locals before you took on this property I think it is fair to allow you the chance to make good on your assurances to the council that numbers of vehicle movements will be severely restricted, as we all agree that facilities such as this are badly needed for our young persons in care.”

Members voted to allow a temporary planning permission for 24 months to see if the parking assurances given by Byrne House Ltd are achieved.