2 Parking Spaces for 12 residents and up to 6 members of staff

CBC Approve Application for Change of Use 

2 parking Spaces for 12 residents and up to 6 members of staff

A change of use from C3 residential dwelling house to C2 residential institution (residential family centre) and extension to rear ground floor bedroom at The Limes, Cumberland Street, LU5 5BW has been approved of by Central Bedfordshire Council despite objections from Houghton Regis Town Council. Cumberland Street is off Queens Street at the southern rear of Morrisons.

The facility would provide accommodation for up to 5 families (comprising of up to 4 members). It would serve as a care facility for vulnerable mothers (and sometimes their partners)  who need additional support after having a  child.  The proposal seeks provision for a total of 12  residents, who would stay from between 8  to  20  weeks depending on their care needs. A staff shift system would be in place, with 4 members of staff during the day and 2 members of staff at night time between the hours of 21.30and 08.00. The rota would operate on a 24/7 basis. Visitors would be restricted to 2 per  family  and  only  one  family  at  a  time,  and  between  the  hours  of  0900  to  1700, Monday to Friday and 1000 to 1300 on Saturdays

In the Officers report to the Council mention is made of one neighbour commenting that the “Proposal does not take into account the lack of parking in the area which is already oversubscribed without the additional required by the proposal;·Extending the property would reduce the playing area needed for any children housed there.”

Mention is also made of support for the scheme, “One letter of support has been received by a resident in the nearby village (Stanbridge) and supports the proposal for the following reasons:·There is a need for residential family centres in the area;·Such organisations do not create extra congestion or other disturbances.”

Houghton  Regis  Town  Council objected to this planning application on the grounds that
1) the proposed development would have an unacceptable adverse effect on the general and residential amenity of the area;
2) Overdevelopment (no provision for space for buggy/pram parking/storage);
3) Lack of parking provision.

The Highways department at CBC commented, “The proposal is for a residential dwelling to be converted toa residential family centre which would provide accommodation of up to 20 individuals (in 5 bedrooms) as well as 2  staff.    At this point, there is only two parking spaces shown.  I acknowledge that the existing house has 4 bedrooms and that there is a probability of parking provision within the surrounding streets. While the situation may not be ideal  I doubt that if the proposal was refused on parking this could not be sustained at appeal.    While there is no provision for cycle storage or refuse storage;  this can be conditioned within any approval. In a highway context, I recommend that conditions be included if planning approval is to be issued.”

Children's Services commented, “Phone and email exchanges have taken place with Children's Services who have assessed the submission and sought clarification on a number matters including regulation, provision of CCTV and clarification of staff ratios.  Concern was raised regarding the scale of the operation and the high number of residents. Updated response - There is not a local need for a parent and child assessment unit. Recommend that these provisions  are  provided  close/in  the  local  authority  where there is a need rather than requiring families to relocate to CBC for the period of assessment.”

Central Bedfordshire Council approved the scheme on 25th April 2019 . CBC imposed a few conditions. Briefly, these include:
1. The development to begin within 3 years
2. Materials to match as closely as possible in colour, type and texture, those of the existing building.
3. Not  be  occupied  until  details  of  the  alterations  of  the  vehicular access onto Queens Street have been approved by the Local Planning Authority
Five other conditions were imposed.

The full decision notice and plans can be read here.