PLANS to convert Burnley’s Alexander Hotel into a home for children with mental health issues have been given the green light.
Neighbouring residents had objected to the proposals on the grounds this type of accommodation was not suitable for the area.
Fears were also raised over a possible increase in crime, vandalism and anti-social behaviour, but planning officers said this facility was not for children with behavioural problems, but children with issues such as depression and anorexia.
They also told members of Burnley Council’s Development Control Committee to judge the application on the “character of the use and not the character of the people there”.
The £450,000 scheme in Leven Street will have seven “mentally challenged” young people between the ages of 10 and 16, and employ three full-time staff and 10 to 15 part-time nurses, carers and managers.
Around 130 people turned out to a public meeting last month where Coun. Jeff Sumner said that although they were not objecting to the looking after of the children, people in the area did not think the Alexander Hotel was a suitable location.
Speaking at the development control meeting, Coun. Tony Harrison said he had spent time working in the care sector and homeowners in the area had nothing to fear.
He said: “I always found that the expectation of trouble was always a lot greater than what actually happened.”
Coun Harrison added: “There is a desperate need for this residential accommodation in this town and as a planning application I feel this is very straightforward.”