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Plans to create children home on Swansea’s Oystermouth Road deferred

A DECISION on plans to create a children’s home on Swansea’s Oystermouth Road has been deferred by councillors, several of whom were worried by its proximity to one of the city’s busiest roads.

The planning committee also heard that the planned home for eight to 13-year-olds in Sandfields was not in an area that the council’s own social services department considered safe.

But a supporter of the proposal challenged this and added that the home would create 25 jobs.

The application was to convert a seven-bedroom house on Oystermouth Road – known for its hotels and B&Bs – into a privately-run home for up to five young people, and also the staff.

There were 72 letters of objection, a petition of the objection, and 16 letters of support.

The petition claimed the area experienced drug and anti-social behaviour issues and that placing looked-after children there wasn’t the right thing to do.

Council officers recommended the application for approval when it came before the planning committee on April 13. Their report said there were other legislation and registration requirements that the applicant would need to comply with which focused more on the suitability of the property and the location.

Addressing the committee, objector and Sandfields resident Joanne John said vulnerable adults were being accommodated nearby.

She said: “We are worried about the children as they’re going to be vulnerable themselves.

“We, as a community, don’t think it’s the right location for them.”

She also referenced written comments by social services, which said Swansea had a surplus of children’s homes at present. The department added that Swansea “cannot support an ever-increasing number of children who are coming to the area from other parts of the UK”.

The scheme’s supporter told the committee that he had challenged these comments but had not received a reply from social services.

He also listed other areas of Swansea which he said the council placed look-after children and added: “However, they (social services) feel that Oystermouth Road is worse than what they have already commissioned.”

Ward councillor David Phillips said private children’s homes should be in the counties where the children placed there came from, not counties like Swansea where properties were relatively cheap in comparison.

Cllr Phillips also felt the location on four-lane Oystermouth Road was unsuitable – a theme picked up on by a number of committee members.

“The lure of the beach is going to affect the situation,” said Cllr June Burtenshaw. “It’s a very dangerous road.”

Cllr Mary Jones said she wanted to know about the impact of the care home on local schools and was concerned by the lack of outdoor space at the rear of the property.

“I’m sorry, it’s more like an institution than a children’s home,” she said.

Councillors voted in favour of deferring the decision to a later date.

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