Plans to convert a three-bed house into a children’s home for one child have been refused by the council due to previous development at the site not being lawful.

Karen Brandon of Blossomcare NW Ltd applied to Rossendale Council to convert 767a Market Street, Whitworth, into a home for one child.

A planning application read: “Blossomcare is a company who provide homes for looked after children. 767a Market Street is registered for a solo children's home and would like the home at the rear to add to the service we are currently providing to Lancashire County Council.

“Lancashire are struggling to home their children and some are currently in unregistered accommodation. We have met with Lancashire CC who would like to use Blossomcare as registered homes for their LA children.”

Previous planning permission was sought to turn the building, which used to be a stables, into a two-bed home with a rear extension, making it a three-bed dwelling. 

This was granted by the council but permission contained two pre-commencement conditions, which clearly prevented any development commencing until the requirements of the conditions had been met.

The conditions required the developer to submit to the local planning authority for approval an investigation and risk assessment of any contamination on the site, and details of a sustainable surface water drainage scheme and a foul water drainage scheme.

Rossendale Council says it has no record of the conditions being complied with, and the applicant failed to provide evidence upon request that the conditions had been complied with.

Therefore, the council found the development carried out to convert the building into a dwelling house was unlawful, and therefore the existing use of the building is not considered to fall under use class C3 (dwelling houses).

The previous application and development was not carried out by Blossomcare NW Ltd.

Lancashire Telegraph: A view of the property from the front A view of the property from the front (Image: Rossendale Council)

A report to the council states: “It is considered therefore that the proposed use of the building as a children’s home for one young person would constitute a material change of use of the building requiring planning permission.

“Therefore, the proposal constitutes development (as defined in Section 55 of the Act) requiring planning permission. Accordingly the proposed use is not considered to be lawful.

“The permission granted contained pre-commencement conditions that needed to be complied with before any development authorised by the planning permission was commenced, however, the council has no record of an application being submitted to comply with the conditions.

“It was also observed on site that some of the building operations carried out to the building such as the two-storey extension on the west elevation of the building had not been undertaken in accordance with the plans approved.”

“Limited information has been submitted in support of the application, but the applicant has confirmed, ‘the home will be registered as a solo home for one young person on a 2:1 Staffing ratio. We are currently working with Lancashire County Council to home local looked after children. There will be a team of six team members experienced in managing children’s homes plus a registered manager and deputy manager’.”

The plans were refused on November 8.