A care boss has moved to allay fears over a proposed new rehabilitation home for young adults in Burnley.
Plans to convert luxurious Hunters Oak Barn in Ightenhill into a home for emotionally traumatised people aged between 16 and 25 have been submitted to Burnley Council.
Concerns regarding the proposals have been raised by neighbouring residents but Mr Graeme Procter, managing director of Prospects Supported Living, who run three other similar homes in Lancashire, said scaremongering was not helping anyone.
“We have been open and honest with everybody. There has been a lot of scare mongering, people saying it is a drugs and drink rehabilitation centre. It is not a drugs and drink rehabilitation centre or for young people with behavioural problems. We have been really open with the neighbours and we welcome dialogue with anybody. Some of these are the most emotionally vulnerable young people you will ever meet. They are victims themselves and have in some cases led horrendous lives.
“The idea is that they are rehabilitated and reintegrated back into the community. They do volunteer work, go to college, take part in community events and work with the Prince’s Trust.”
The house, situated right at the bottom of Ightenhill Park Lane, is believed to be one of the country’s biggest barn conversions. It has a cinema, swimming pool, gym and 17 acres of land. It featured on the front of the Burnley Express in 2008 when it was put on the market for £3.25m.
Mr Procter stressed that the only work that would be carried out on the house would be to erect an internal partition wall to increase the number of bedrooms from eight to nine.
Three young people have been living in the house since June. In order to increase the number of residents to nine an application to make it a residential home had to be made. A decision is expected on this at the beginning of December.
“We are not really near any neighbours. We want our residents to not be victims and we will do everything to shield them. These places need to be. The young people are not coming from prisons, they are coming from the same communities these people live in. We just want to get them back there.”