House in Perry Barr to be converted into children’s home

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The children who will be looked after at the property are those who Birmingham city council have determined cannot live with their parents as a result of foster placements breaking down, or for their protection

A house is set to be converted into a children’s home after councillors raised objections related to the “suitability” of the property.

The care home, on Blakeland Road, Perry Barr, will accommodate two children between the age of seven and 17. They will live together “like any other family” according to planning documents.

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The children who will be looked after at the property are those who Birmingham city council have determined cannot live with their parents as a result of foster placements breaking down, or for their protection.

Two staff on duty will be at the property at any one time during the day and one staff during night. One separate bedroom will be provided for the carers on night duty.

The duty manager will also be on shift during the day 9am and 5pm for staff support during the day. There will be no staff living at the property, but they will be on duty 24/7 on a rolling rota.

Social workers and other professionals will be visit the children every six weeks to check on their living conditions and progression. They will undertake the same as duties as a parent – including taking them to and from school as well as taking them to social activities, the report suggests.

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A petition of 95 objections was received by the council from Conservative councillor Rick Payne.

Blakeland Road, Perry Barr (Photo - Google Maps)Blakeland Road, Perry Barr (Photo - Google Maps)
Blakeland Road, Perry Barr (Photo - Google Maps) | google maps

He objected to the facility on the grounds the semi-detached property flouted the council’s own guidance on children’s homes. He also claimed it would add “parking pressures”.

An additional 21 objections from neighbours claimed the children’s home would add “emotional stress and fear to existing residents.”

West Midlands Police also raised an objection, citing a “potential increase in missing person/absent reports being made, putting additional pressure on police resources”.

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They agreed conditions such as CCTV and alarm must be in place at the children’s home.

Conservative councillor Gareth Moore said: “There is a need for children’s homes in the city but it’s the suitability of semi detached property.

“The increased noise and disturbance sadly do occur sometimes with these properties. The ones where we don’t have complaints or where they’re detached because it is much more minimal.

“I’ve got relatives on the road. So I do visit Blakeland Road on a frequent basis. Parking is horrendous. It’s very, very difficult to get up and down the road. A lot of restaurants sometimes have to park in the Golden Hind car park at the top because it’s the only way to park.”

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An objector, Pha Him Lee, told the planning committee on February 2 the conversion would force the current family living at the property to “relocate and possibly have to relocate their daughter to a different school”.

He said: “There’s a HMO [house in multiple occupation] for young offenders at the bottom of Elmbridge Road. There’s also a HMO on Lakeland Road where police attend regularly.

“The average rent is £650 per calendar month, so the revenue is £7,800 per annum. Changing the property to childcare, I have been advised revenues are £500 pound per child per week. This equates to a revenue of £52,000 pounds, which means that this has definitely been used as a business.”

Planning officers who spoke in the meeting refuted Mr Lee’s claim, and argued children’s home are not defined as HMO’s.

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“Looking at the 100 metre radius which members will be aware that we use, we identified two HMOs within the location within that radius, which represents 1.79% – none of which are adjacent to this property.”

Qadeer Nawaz, the agent for Laurel Care Limited, said: “I’m a qualified independent prescribing pharmacist with six years of experience working with children.

“We have a strong team of registered manager and a responsible individual who are registered with Ofsted with over 15 years experience working in children’s residential care, and be able to deliver all aspects of children’s residential services.

“Children’s homes are subject to stringent registration processes with the regulator Ofsted.

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“This location provides ample and convenient access to local amenities as well as local transport. It is located in a fantastic area with great access to good education and health facilities, which makes his location ideal for the intended purpose.”

Birmingham Children’s Trust confirmed four other children’s homes are currently registered with Ofsted within the area.

Labour councillor Jane Jones, who represents Stockland Green, said: “We’ve already voted in various committees. We’ve already voted for similar sort of homes. How long have these children got to wait until they find a family home that is actually going to be their home?”

Labour councillor Lee Marsham, who represents Nechells, said: “This is a much-needed children’s care home, as a city we have a responsibility to house those we need to help, and the Birmingham children’s trust have full confidence in the provider.”

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