Fears remain despite South Tyneside kids home plan being withdrawn

Former Bede Burn Road B&B which may become a children's home
Former Bede Burn Road B&B which may become a children's home

Residents still have fears over the long-term future of a former South Tyneside bed and breakfast - after a plan to turn it into a children’s home was withdrawn.

They now fear the conversion proposal for the end terrace property in Bede Burn Road, Jarrow, will be modified and returned to planning bosses.

Dozens of householders raised objections to North Tyneside-based Artemis Housing Ltd’s original scheme, submitted in August,

and seeking permission to house up to five children with emotional and behavioural problems, aged from five to 17.

Although residents conceded there was need for provision, they claimed the Holmside property was neither suitable in design nor in the right location.

Artemis, which already operates three children’s homes on Tyneside, has now withdrawn its planning application.

Householders say an Artemis information leaflet posted through their doors informing of the move, states the proposal is only being reviewed.

A resident who did not want to be named said: “They sent us two information flyers in three days this week. The first stated they wanted to meet us to discuss the plans, the next said they were withdrawing the scheme. It’s all very suspicious.

“The second notice states that the plans are being reviewed. There is no mention they are being scrapped.

“This has raised a lot of suspicions that Artemis will resubmit a similar application later.”

They added: “There was quite a residents’ backlash when the proposal was first mooted. A lot of us fear Artemis is not going to go away and that the scheme will be approved should opposition die down with the passage of time.”.

Dad-of-three Kevin Young, of neighbouring Wansbeck Road, said: “I am glad the planning application has been withdrawn.

“I completely support the fact that children with certain needs must be supported, but planning to place children with certain needs into a community that is directly in the vicinity of a kindergarten, a secondary school, a local play park, and others is just asking for trouble.”

A second leaflet, announcing the cancellation of the public drop-in event - due to take place on Wednesday November 21, reads: “We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. The decision to cancel the event has been taken in response to comments received from local residents.

“We are carefully considering these comments and are reviewing the proposals in light of what the community has said.

“The current planning application has been withdrawn. Following a period of review a community engagement event will be arranged in due course.”

Charles Tosan, operations director of Artemis, said: “I would like to inform you that Artemis Support has decided to withdraw its planning application in respect of Holmside, in order to engage with the local community and listen to their concerns before considering making a further application.”