Plans to change a rural Rossendale house into a home for children with additional needs have been rejected by councillors.

Applicant Ataka Anis wanted to change the use of North Point on Burnley Road, Bacup, to an Ofsted-registered children’s home for up to three children with additional needs.

Mrs Anis’ address is given as North Point, Bacup, in the application form. She is working with a Cleethorpes-based agent, Luke Bankhead, of MRG Health Ltd. And a planning statement for the Bacup site said it was prepared for an applicant organisation called Devoted Guardians.

But the application prompted a number of objections from neighbours and was called-in to Rossendale Council’s planning committee for a closer look by councillors.

The application indicated there would be 14 full-time staff and eight part time-staff , on a shift basis. No physical changes were proposed except removing a door in one of two outbuildings and replacing the windows due to damage. One building would become a staff bedroom and the other a meeting room. Also planned is a 1.2metre- high fence and six parking spaces.

But a number of local people objected. They included Andrew and Joan Mogridge of Clifton Farm. Harrow Stiles Lane; Andrew and Melanie Whitehead, also of Clifton Farm; Helen and Paul Starkie and James Cherry and T Cherry, all of Harrow Stile Farm; and Jemma and Rebecca Greenwood, of Croft Farm, Burnley Road.

In a duplicated letter sent to Rossendale Council, they wrote: “I accept that every child deserves a safe, secure and stable home environment so this is not a case of ‘not in my back yard’. However the remote rural location in my opinion makes it completely unsuitable for vulnerable children as well as associated staff and professionals, such as social workers, and visiting families.”

Children would not be able to develop the everyday ‘life skills’ needed to become independent because of the remote location, they added. The nearest bus stop is almost two miles away,  road traffic is dangerous and there are working farms nearby. All this would restrict the children’s options and make them totally reliant on car transport. Staff sleeping in a converted outbuilding also carried risks too, if there was incident in the main house, objectors feared. There was also a hand-written objection letter.

Rossendale planning officers had recommended the plan be approved with conditions. A report to councillors stated: “On balance, it is considered although the proposal is not in a sustainable location, that the need for this type of accommodation for Lancashire children could constitute an overriding reason for allowing the proposal which would otherwise be contrary to national planning policy, the Rossendale Local Plan and the National Design Guide.

“To ensure this, it would be necessary for a condition to prioritise occupation by Rossendale children and, secondly, children from Lancashire.”

However, Rossendale councillors rejected the advice and voted against the application at the latest development meeting. Councillors said the children’s home use was not sustainable there and would create significant extra traffic.