A service which provides specialist care for children aged eight to 17 is looking to turn a residential house into a children’s home.

Associated Wellbeing Ltd, which runs the Lighthouse in Darwen, is seeking planning permission to use Rossbrook House, New Line, Bacup, as a small specialist care home for four children.

Bosses at Associated Wellbeing Ltd applied to Rossendale Council last week, with a planning statement saying that if approved, the home would be registered as an emotional and behavioural home.

The planning statement read: “Children will undergo a stringent impact risk assessment to ensure they integrate with the local community.

"This considers the home, the environment, the community, plus peers groups and assesses against each child as an individual prior to admission into the home. 

“The children will live at the property long term, hopefully for many years.  This is not a halfway house or emergency housing for children.

“The home will aim to provide a smooth transition for children and young people who come to live, through careful planning and consideration.

"The home will primarily serve medium to long term placements in order to minimise disruption to residents.”

As part of the plans, Associated Wellbeing Ltd seeks to assure the council there will be no external alterations to the building or its surrounds and from the outside, there will be no change in the appearance or character of the dwelling.

The planning statement went on: “Before any home can open, it must gain the approval of Ofsted which has regulatory powers outside normal planning control.

“Ofsted will require a local risk assessment before approving the property as a care home.

“Planning is therefore not the only form of regulation which controls the suitability of the location.

“A basic principle in assessing a planning application is whether there is other legislation which is more appropriate to regulate the proposed development.”

Rossbrook House is a five-bedroom, detached house with four off street parking spaces.

Up to four children would live at the house, with two carers working on a rota basis sleeping overnight and a further carer/manager would also attend most weekdays.

Six carers would operate on a shift pattern of 48 hours on, 60 hours off.

Except at changeover times, which last around ten minutes, there will no more than three carers on the premises at any one time.

A manager, also a carer, would visit the site most days between 9am to 5pm. 

The planning statement continues: “The purpose of the home would be to support the children to build their confidence, help them in developing life skills and prepare them for life when they leave the home to fend for themselves.

“This type of support has been found to be most effective in helping these children to have normal lives and not experience problems in later life.

“During the day it is expected that the children would engage in various activities, plus attend a mainstream or special school.

“The proposed children’s home seeks to replicate as closely as possible a normal family environment.

“This type of provision, which government policy is promoting, is to help children who often, through no fault of their own, have not had good parenting in their early years. These are not children with special needs.”

Anyone wishing to comment on the plans should do so via Rossendale Council’s planning portal.