Residents and councillors have expressed frustration with the planning system and care home companies, over the development of a second children’s care home in a small village.

Councillors on Pendle's Colne area committee have reluctantly approved a certificate of lawful development for First Blue Healthcare, for its activity at Hey Fold Barn at County Brook Lane, Foulridge.

Another care home called Jacob’s House is already based in Foulridge after the buy-up of Nurture Childcare Services.

Bosses from First Blue argued a new care home at Hey Fold Barn, with two children and two staff over 24-hour rotas. would not feel different to a typical family home, with no ‘material change’ in the building’s use or neighbours’ experiences.

But resident Julian Barnes said: “There are a lot councils facing similar applications to this. Applications are being knocked-back by councils because these are not residential dwellings. These are residential care facilities. They are not the same. Care facilities have staff on rotas, carers, health visitors and educators.

“Also, you have got to facilitate emergency vehicles. We’ve had police coming to the hamlet. There will be more traffic. The location is not right. It’s a rural, there’s no playground to meet other children, no bus stop. The nearest shop is three miles away. ”

He accused firms like First Blue of attempting to secure change of use certificates 'under the radar'.

Resident Catherine Charnley spoke about car parking concerns and previous parking at Jacob’s House.

She said: “Recent times have probably been the quietest in three years. But there are still more cars coming-and-going than you would expect from a normal house. It’s not just cars for shifts. There are staff hand-over times and people at meetings.”

Another neighbour, Steven Whittaker, said: “I’m a resident and also have 25 years’ experience with  NHS mental health settings. This home is not a mental health facility but it will be a home to children who are likely to have experienced stress or trauma. In my experience, they are likely to relapse."

Borough planning head Neil Watson said councillors had to base the lawful use decision on evidence in front of them and the application details – not on speculation about what might happen in future.

Education and welfare questions were not relevant to lawful use certificates, he added. Other organisations such as Lancashire County Council had remits on children’s welfare and education.

Under the lawful use certificate system, the application property had to be treated as a ‘planning unit’. If Blue First did not use the building in the way proposed, enforcement action could be considered.

Conservative C[llr Kieran McGladdery said many households everywhere had multiple cars and comings-and-goings. He did not feel parking was an issue.

He added:”I don’t believe we can refuse this certificate. I am against this and if it was a planning application, I’d refuse it. I’m apologetic to residents but, sadly, we have got to approve this.”