Plans to turn a house into a children’s home for 11 to 18-year-olds have been rejected.
Members of St Helens planning committee were asked to approve proposals to change the use of a house at 25 Old Whint Road in Haydock to a residential children’s care home, at its meeting on Tuesday night.
The application had been submitted to St Helens Council on behalf of Building Bridges, which has three current homes in the borough.
Plans stated that the home would accommodate up to five children with associated 24/7 care supervision and be staffed by two to five people.
A council report said the current driveway is capable of accommodating four cars, although only two members of staff would be at the property at any one time.
Blackbrook councillor Paul McQuade spoke in the public speakers’ section, urging the committee to reject the plans.
He said the children’s home would have a “detrimental effect” on road safety in regard to Old Whint Road, which he called an “already congested” road.
A total of 24 letters of objections were received for the application.
Concerns included traffic volume and concerns over potential increases in crime.
One public speaker said it is the view of residents that the children’s home will “stress, worry and unrest in the community”.
Donna Tagoe, a representative of Building Bridges, told the committee its three existing homes are all successful and accepted within the community.
Ms Tagoe said there is a “misunderstanding” around looked-after children and said that due to a stigma around them peoples’ fears and concerns become “heightened”.
Blackbrook councillor Linda Maloney said she was “stunned” by this claim.
The Labour councillor said she had “significant” traffic concerns and said she was “absolutely astonished” that Highways raised no objections.
Cllr Maloney said: “We have got these homes in Haydock and they work perfectly well but my concern is we do not need any more traffic on that road.
“It’s unsafe now for children and it will be even worse when there is another five children there and there is all the cars that belong to it.”
Cllr Maloney added that the proposed children’s home was “unsuitable” for the area.
Cllr Maloney said: “I’m saying, we will have these homes in Haydock.
“We will look after these vulnerable children, but not in Old Whint Road.
“To me, Old Whint Road is unsuitable in that area to make that home.”
Planning officers had recommended that the application be approved subject to conditions.
The planning committee rejected the proposals on the basis of the increase in traffic it would cause and the need for on-street parking in Old Whint Road and Edward Street, which would prove detrimental to highway safety.