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MPs join up to investigate child care home loophole


Wednesday 26th September 2012 (Andrew Griffiths)

UTTOXETER’S MP has joined forces with a fellow Staffordshire MP to look at ways of closing a loophole which can see children’s care homes set up in residential streets without any public consultation.

The issue has been raised after it emerged a new home for children with learning disabilities is being set up in Stafford Road, in Uttoxeter, the third such home to open in the street without any consultation.

Residents living in the area are concerned that the home is in an unsuitable location as there is little parking and it is potentially dangerous to the children to be housed there with it being so close to the road.

Secretary of the Uttoxeter Community Action Group Bob Divers has taken up the matter on behalf of the group and has written numerous times to the town’s MP Andrew Griffiths who is investigating the matter.

Mr Griffiths said in his latest response to Mr Divers: “It does seem to me that there is a problem in the system when care homes such as this can be set up and run as a commercial operation without any recourse to the planning system or to the local community within which it is based.

“I have already contacted my colleague Gavin Williamson, the MP for South Staffordshire, who has had similar problems.

“We have now joined forces to see what more can be done to influence Government policy.

“The next step that Gavin and I have agreed is that we will write to all Members of Parliament to ask if they have experienced similar problems in their constituency to build a clearer picture of the extent of the problems across the country.” At last week’s meeting of the Uttoxeter Community Action Group, Mr Divers said he was ‘pleased’ with the MP’s positive response.

Stand-in chairman of the group Jerry Latham said: “Andrew Griffiths has taken it seriously which is good.

“I find it incredible that there seems to be no control — anybody can set up one of these places without anybody saying ‘hang on are the children safe there?’” The registered manager of the proposed new care home — to be called Stafford House — Paul Emmerson, wrote to residents about some of their concerns and invited them to look round the home.

He said in the letter that when the home is registered with Ofsted it will support four young people between the ages of eight and 17-years-old with learning disabilities.

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