Plans for young people’s care home in Morecambe’s West End raise concerns

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Concern has been raised about the West End of Morecambe’s suitability for children in care.

A senior manager at Lancashire Children’s Services expressed this view following a planning application to change the use of a house in Balmoral Road into a residential care home for two young people.

Although acknowledging that it’s a struggle to find smaller homes suitable for children with more complex needs and behaviours, Lancashire County Council’s senior commissioning manager policy, commissioning and children's health couldn’t support the application.

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“I am aware that there are concerns in relation to the West End of Morecambe and the suitability of this area for our children in our care, due to their higher levels of vulnerability,” said Annette McNeil, who was consulted during the planning process.

Balmoral Road in Morecambe. Photo: Google Stret ViewBalmoral Road in Morecambe. Photo: Google Stret View
Balmoral Road in Morecambe. Photo: Google Stret View

“The type of children who this home would be aimed at are likely to have very high levels of vulnerability due to the nature of their more complex needs and behaviours.”

The application was submitted to Lancaster City Council by Blackpool-based Therapeutic Care Ltd who want to provide a home for two young people, no older than 18, taken into care by social services.

“The children would be vulnerable and need a safe, caring and stable home environment to be able to thrive,” the application said.

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“There can be no doubt that there is a genuine need for the intended occupiers in this case.”

Care would be provided round the clock by up to two non-resident carers and one manager working in shifts.

The children would attend schools, clubs, groups and other extra-curricular activities, just like other young people.

Therapeutic Care described the West End property as being in an accessible and sustainable location where the children could develop and maintain social networks.

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“This will become the child’s home and therefore will be treated as such, allowing them to come and go and be a part of their wider community. If there are concerns over the young person’s behaviours or risk taking behaviours then they would be accompanied by a staff member when they leave the property.”

The company preferred to provide child care within an existing community ‘and usually within an existing residential neighbourhood.’

Any visits by parents or family would take place away from the home, whose exact location would remain confidential.

West End councillor David Whitaker said: " I passionately believe we have a duty to support and facilitate these homes that support vulnerable children but the area where it will be located is a concern due to the location on a busy road which has problems in regard to speeding, and the already existing issues of properties for vulnerable people who need support."