Residents ‘not consulted’ on children’s home in Buckingham

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A new children’s home is to be built in Westfields, as part of a £2 million investment by the county council.

Plans for the conversion of two properties in the area into a home which would accommodate five children were put to Buckingham Town Council on September 11.

The council says the plan to build four new homes in the county will help cut the cost of using similar external services outside of the county.

Cllr Warren Whyte, cabinet member for children’s services, said:“Increasing the number of local children’s homes will enable us to place more vulnerable children as close as possible to places they are familiar with, their school/ college, friends and family, keeping the level of change in their lives to a minimum and reducing the number of children placed out of county.

“Having more council-run children’s homes means we can prioritise placing Buckinghamshire children in them. The independently run children’s homes in the county don’t prioritise children from the local area.”

Cllr Charlie Clare said: “The proposed site in Buckingham will be limited to just five children and will be managed by experienced and qualified staff 24 hours a day. I hope that Buckingham proves to be an ideal location.

“I do however understand that currently there isn’t enough information to reassure local residents as to the scale of the home and how it might affect the neighbourhood. It is quite right that residents are contacting me with concerns and worries and I agree with them that contacting just residents in close proximity to the site isn’t enough.

“I’ve arranged for more letters to be produced and I will post them personally to the rest of the residents of the Westfield estate.

“This is only a relatively small facility and will not bring more children into the community than would be expected of the original two houses and I am sure that we can find a way to make such an opportunity a success we can all be proud of.”

Rosie Johnson, who lives in the street, said: “I don’t think that it’s a case of people on Westfields not wanting somewhere for the children to go, it’s more than we haven’t been told much.”