Go ahead given for new Milton children’s home

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CRITICS say residents’ lives will be made a nightmare after plans for a new children’s care home near three pubs were approved.

The go-ahead has been given for the council to buy a three-bedroom property in Priory Crescent, Milton, so that youngsters can be cared for there.

It will be an absolute nightmare for residents in the Milton community. And that means it will be an unhappy place for these youngsters, they need to be somewhere where people aren’t cross with them being there.

Lib Dem Milton ward councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson

The proposal was put forward as the council was keen on replacing an existing home, which was deemed too large for clients – Skye Close – and costing too much money.

But campaigners say the move ‘will not work’ as it’s in the heart of a residential area and close to three pubs – Mr Pickwick, The Milton Arms and The Brewer’s Arms.

Lib Dem ward councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson said he had received letters from residents concerned there would be problems with noise and anti-social behaviour.

He said: ‘It will be an absolute nightmare for residents in the Milton community.

‘And that means it will be an unhappy place for these youngsters. They need to be somewhere where people aren’t cross with them being there. I am not sure the property is the right size and it’s certainly the wrong location.

‘It will cost the council more in the long run because it will fail and it will have to go and move them somewhere else.’

A report which went before yesterday’s decision meeting, chaired by Tory planning boss Luke Stubbs, said the relocation of the children’s home to Priory Crescent would be ‘complicated’ and £135,000 would need to be spent refurbishing it.

The council anticipates it would save £75,000 a year.

Cllr Stubbs said: ‘The most important issue is the welfare of the children and it is much better for them to be looked after in a domestic setting than in an institution – that is effectively what Skye Close is.

‘A number of savings depend on making this move. Not doing it would cost the council an additional £400,000 a year.’

Responding to residents’ fears, he said: ‘Some of the criticisms are rather overboard. We are talking about three children being looked after in a house.’