Concerns raised over plans to create children’s home in Halifax

A council has decided changing the use of a four-bedroomed house into a children’s home would not be lawful.

By John Greenwood - Local Democracy Reporter
Friday, 27th May 2022, 2:00 pm

Calderdale Council planners rejected Mr Kaiser Aslam’s application seeking permission to change the use use at the building at Denholme Gate Road, Hipperholme, into a children’s home.

In reaching their decision, they said the proposal relates to the use of the dwelling as a home for the care of three young people under the age of 18 with 24 hour care being provided by no more than three carers on a shift basis.

The decision hinged around whether the carers lived on the premises or not and means a planning application will have to be made to get approval for the change of use.

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Halifax Town Hall

Officers heard the young people would have their own bedroom and share the communal facilities of the kitchen, living room, bathroom and WC, and the care offered would seek to mirror the routine of a normal home.

In terms of visitors other than immediate care staff, these might involve a local authority social worker.

No details had been provided on the intended shift pattern proposed over the 24 hour period.

The existing property is classed as C3 use, a dwelling, under the Town and Country Planning [Use Classes] Order 1987, while the proposed use is

considered to fall into Use Class C2, which is use for the provision of residential accommodation and care to people in need of care.

Class C2 includes “the personal care of children and medical care and treatment”, say planning officers.

The applicant’s supporting statement acknowledges that a change of use from C3 to C2 would occur but considers that due to the nature of the change and proposed use it would not result in a material change of use that would necessitate planning permission.

Officers said the issue of whether a change of use is “material” is a question of fact and degree that will always come down to the specific circumstances of the situation.

A legal ruling on a case in Devon used to support the application related to a house that was to be used for the residential care of two children with care provided by non-residential staff on a rota basis.

The court held that children could not form a household, as they needed looking after, and that living together as a household requires that a proper functioning household exists.

As such, in that case the children and carers must reside in the premises and this was within class C2.

But in this instance, three young people will be in residence with care provided by carers on a rotational basis.

The carers will not be permanent residents but will interchange, said officers, with occupancy of the property fluctuating over time.

Based on the above information and the evidence provided, the use, although

residential in nature, is not considered to be as a single household and as such it is considered that a material change of use from C3 to C2 will occur and therefore planning permission will therefore be required, concluded officers.