Stockton Borough Council accused of secrecy over purchase of home for looked-after children

Darlington and Stockton Times: James Wharton: council criticism James Wharton: council criticism

STOCKTON council’s purchase of a £650,000 house to turn it into a children’s home has been described as “clandestine” and “dangerous” by a leading councillor.

The home in the Hartburn area of Stockton is the second to be bought by the authority to house 20 of the town’s looked-after children currently being sent out of the area.

An attempt to buy another one in Wolviston failed following major protests in the village and nearly a quarter of the adult population in Thorpe Thewles wrote to the council to object to another purchase which was nonetheless successful.

Following the protests in those two villages Stockton Borough Council has adopted a new policy of buying the houses without informing the public.

However a change of use application must still be granted by the council’s planning committee. The authority has also promised a more comprehensive public consultation exercise.

James Wharton, Conservative MP for the area, has written to letter to Hartburn residents criticising the Labour-led council for what he described as “secrecy” surrounding the sale and the fact that the vendors were required to sign an agreement not to discuss the matter.

Ken Lupton, leader of the Conservative group and Hartburn councillor, said buying the property without public consultation was “clandestine and dangerous” and said he would be organising a public meeting.

The authority plans to work with specialist child protection company, Spark of Genius, to buy four homes for 20 children aged eight to 16.

Coun Ann McCoy, Stockton Council's cabinet member for children and young people, said immediate neighbours had been visited and others would be written to about the home before the planning application is decided.

 

Comments (4)

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2:41pm Sun 13 Apr 14

oxbridge says...

Hartburn is too posh for a children's home shocking, NIMBYs more like it!
Hartburn is too posh for a children's home shocking, NIMBYs more like it! oxbridge
  • Score: -1

4:24pm Sun 13 Apr 14

FASD Network says...

The intention to purchase homes to return Stockton children to their own town was announced in public meetings in the community last year that I as a Stockton resident attended. As a single foster carer who takes Stockton children in to my own home, life and heart, I find it terribly sad that a town is upset about having to look after its own children in need. Perhaps you have lost a sense of perspective and forgotten that these are children and young people who have experienced early life challenges and deserve our love and care and encouragement. No one is asking you to take them into your homes, like foster carers do, they are simply hoping that you will allow them to settle into neighbourhoods that are inclusive and will desire for them outcomes that they would wish for their own children. Come on Stockton...time for a little perspective...and a little love.
The intention to purchase homes to return Stockton children to their own town was announced in public meetings in the community last year that I as a Stockton resident attended. As a single foster carer who takes Stockton children in to my own home, life and heart, I find it terribly sad that a town is upset about having to look after its own children in need. Perhaps you have lost a sense of perspective and forgotten that these are children and young people who have experienced early life challenges and deserve our love and care and encouragement. No one is asking you to take them into your homes, like foster carers do, they are simply hoping that you will allow them to settle into neighbourhoods that are inclusive and will desire for them outcomes that they would wish for their own children. Come on Stockton...time for a little perspective...and a little love. FASD Network
  • Score: 14

6:23pm Sun 13 Apr 14

darloboss says...

James Wharton should be ashamed of himself
theres a word that people like him dont know the meaning of its called compassion
James Wharton should be ashamed of himself theres a word that people like him dont know the meaning of its called compassion darloboss
  • Score: 5

2:22pm Fri 18 Apr 14

simpsonm says...

I feel it waa disgraceful some of the comments that were made about the children who would be invading their villages and causing all kinds of anti social behaviour. These children are of a very young age who have not had the best of times during their young lives. It was thought that a small village or area could give them the security they needed but no they were to be outlawed. I cannot believe that people could be so unfeeling for these young people who sometimes hide themselves for fear of being hurt by adults.
I feel it waa disgraceful some of the comments that were made about the children who would be invading their villages and causing all kinds of anti social behaviour. These children are of a very young age who have not had the best of times during their young lives. It was thought that a small village or area could give them the security they needed but no they were to be outlawed. I cannot believe that people could be so unfeeling for these young people who sometimes hide themselves for fear of being hurt by adults. simpsonm
  • Score: -6

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