REVEALED: G4S plans Nuthall children’s home

G4S has sought planning permission to turn 1A Roland Avenue into a children's home
G4S has sought planning permission to turn 1A Roland Avenue into a children's home

The world’s largest security firm, G4S, plans to open a children’s care home in Nuthall, the Advertiser can reveal.

An arm of the multi-billion pound company involved in caring for looked after children, G4S Children’s Services has applied for planning permission to convert a disused house in Nuthall into a children’s home providing care for up to five teenagers at a time.

The planned home will have room for up to five teenagers and by run "like a family home".

The planned home will have room for up to five teenagers and by run "like a family home".

Broxtowe Borough Council is now in a consultation stage allowing neighbours near the property on Roland Avenue to air opinions until March 27 and local councillors were shocked as news came from out of the blue.

Clerk of Nuthall Parish Council, Susan Stack, said: “Residents are telling us a controversial planning application is creating concern.

Council Chairman and county councillor for Nuthall, Philip Owen said it was also “troubling” that nothing had been discussed about the home at county level.

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The committee member for children’s services said: “Nothing whatsoever has come through the committee, the county council has had no input on the location of this at all.

“There appears to have been some administrative failing.

“I’d never even heard that G4S are involved in children’s homes.”

He also said residents were worried about the plan to start a children’s home in the neighbourhood, which would house up to five 10 to 17-year-olds looked after children.

He added: “These will be difficult children in a prime residential area.”

The council has set a policy to get looked after children from a wider area into children’s homes, to “better supervise them and be more cost effective”, said Cllr Owen.

He added: “The principal of providing bed spaces in Notts was agreed at the budget meeting but no details of contracts or any details have come to committee or council.

“The first I heard of this proposal was when the planning application came in.

“I am awaiting a conversation with the Chief Executive designate and will be asking for a full inquiry into how this has been handled.”

G4S children’s homes have attracted a great deal of controversy including the accidental death of a 15-year-old who was being restrained by a guard, and residents in Northamptonshire are concerned after their homes in the county needed 200 police call outs last year.

Looked after children, those who are subject to Care orders and removed from their parents care, end up in children’s homes for a variety of reasons.

G4S’s children’s home would care for children who have either experienced problems with their family, are looked after by the local authority or who have had a breakdown in their fostering.

G4S states in it’s plan that “Both national and local planning policy support the proposed change of use, including Broxtowe Borough Council’s planning policy on providing appropriate services, attractive environment and not affecting the surrounding area. It includes no reference to tendering policies from Nottinghamshire County Council.

It is believed G4S would intend to employ six-eight members of staff at the home and have two carers in the building at any one time.

The company was given the go-ahead to build another new home in January, converted from a disused hostel in Burton-on-Trent and residents protested its planning application in Kirkby-in-Ashfield last week by picketing outside the house.

In this latest planning application, G4S said its chosen building: “Only limited internal refurbishment is required. These limited internal works are required to bring the property up to the required standard for care home use. Up to five children will be resident at the property at any given time, having a bedroom each. The internal works would be minimal to bring it up to an acceptable standard as it has been used as a Motorcycle workshop and display area. The prosed change of use will provide a necessary community facility to provide care to a vulnerable section of society.”

Managing director of G4S Children’s Services, Paul Cook, said: “Children need to be looked after in a children’s home because they cannot live with their own families and need high standards of care requiring suitable and safe locations within their own community to achieve the best outcomes.

“We work very closely with local authorities to find appropriate locations for our children’s homes, which are registered and inspected by Ofsted to meet their regulations, and I am more than happy to meet with local residents to discuss their concerns.”

The vast majority of G4S Children’s Services existing homes have either “good” or “outstanding” Ofsted reports.

County, borough and parish councillors hope to field questions from residents at a special meeting on Tuesday, March 17 at the Temple Centre, Nottingham Road, Nuthall, 7pm.