Opposition mounting to new care facility on former Northumberland school site

The site where the new care facility is proposed in Hadston.The site where the new care facility is proposed in Hadston.
The site where the new care facility is proposed in Hadston.
Opposition is mounting to a Northumberland County Council bid to create a care facility on a former school site.

The local authority has submitted an application for the construction of a four-bedroom house on the plot of the former caretaker’s property at Druridge Bay Community Middle School, which was demolished a number of years ago.

The school closed in 2011, merging with Amble Middle School and Coquet High School to form James Calvert Spence College.

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The proposed home would be ‘to provide care facilities for up to four persons together with communal/shared living and cooking facilities, games room, offices, store, utility/laundry and plant area.’

The application does not clarify who the residents would be, but it is clear from the objections – 19 have been lodged so far – that the understanding in the community is that it will be a children’s home.

Stephanie Clark’s objection says: ‘This application does not clearly define why these children need to be rehoused in a community dwelling. If it is true they are children with severe behaviour problems, I don’t think Hadston is equipped to cope.’

Another opponent, Sylvia Stanton, states: ‘I am an elderly resident and have lived in the local area for most of my life, sadly, I am acutely aware of the rise in antisocial behaviour and crime in Hadston, which leads me to question the suitability of Hadston as a location for a children’s home.’

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Mrs Stanton also described the application as ‘misleading’ and questions the lack of information and the timing of this proposal being submitted – it was received by the council on April 20.

‘Due to the global pandemic public lockdown, a public meeting is not possible within the designated timeframe for neighbour consultation and any decisions regarding this application should therefore be delayed’, she adds.

Similar community fears were seen recently in relation to plans for a new children’s home on the eastern edge of Guide Post.

Action for Children’s application to change the use of a residential property was refused by the Castle Morpeth Local Area Council in February, against the advice of planning officers.

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