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Haverhill residents and town councillors voice opposition to proposal for a second children’s home in the space of seven houses





Residents and councillors were united in opposing a proposal to create a second residential children’s home within the space of seven houses on the same Haverhill street.

The opposition was voiced at a meeting of Haverhill Town Council’s planning working party on Monday when an application to turn a four-bedroom house in Hamlet Road into a home for up to four children, aged 11 to 17, was debated.

Residents of Hamlet Road packed into the meeting room to voice their concerns.

Area Camden Ltd wants to convert 26 Hamlet Road, in Haverhill, from a residential family home to a children’s home for up to four children in an application to West Suffolk Council. Picture: Google
Area Camden Ltd wants to convert 26 Hamlet Road, in Haverhill, from a residential family home to a children’s home for up to four children in an application to West Suffolk Council. Picture: Google

Two people spoke at the meeting on behalf of the residents.

Both questioned why it was necessary to have another children’s home created at number 26 just seven houses along from where the applicant, Area Camden, has already had planning permission granted for such a home.

One resident said: “Both (children’s homes) share the same rear access.

Concerns were raised about the suitability of this narrow road being used to access the parking at the rear of two children's homes. Picture: Google
Concerns were raised about the suitability of this narrow road being used to access the parking at the rear of two children's homes. Picture: Google

“It appears that Hamlet Road residents are being expected to accept a second children’s home from the same applicant before any impact from the first home can be measured.”

The resident also questioned whether the parking provision for the proposed home, for four spaces, would be adequate when there would be eight full-time employees working there.

The planning statement submitted by Area Camden with its application has however, said: “During the day, there could be three members of staff in the property at any one time but this would have no impact on the amenity of the area.”

The concerned resident went on to say: “Inevitably there will be staff handovers, regular visits from various therapists, family members plus support and regulatory bodies.”

There would be little opportunity for any additional parking in front of the house on Hamlet Road itself, added the man.

He continued: “The parking provision at the rear of the property is accessed by a narrow single-track lane (off Tudor Close) used by existing residents who would continue to need full access.

“Residents are also responsible for the upkeep of the lane which would clearly be used more should this application be approved.”

He said: “Whilst I can appreciate the need for this type of children’s home in the community, I don’t think this location is suitable for two.”

Another Hamlet Road resident said: “The back access land of these properties is on a 1950s foundation construction for residential access only when car use was limited and is struggling to cope now with increased traffic at the detriment of condition and safety.

“Visibility is poor when entering and exiting the access lane due to the angle of approach.”

She continued: “Two commercial properties of the same use within an estimated 75 metres are to the detriment of residents living within these small row of houses.”

Cllr Tony Brown said of the application: “We always support children’s homes, they do really good work, but when they are in the right place.”

Cllr Brown also questioned the lack of recreational space at the property for the children and highlighted the parking problems before saying: “It’s just too crammed in,” and “there is a whole load of issues.”

Cllr Mary Martin also supported the principle of providing children’s homes but added: “While the provision is great, this is not the right place.”

The working party agreed to formally object to the planning application made to West Suffolk Council.