Villagers have criticised a decision to allow the opening of a specialist care home for youngsters with mental health problems in Great Eccleston, which they say will disturb their tranquil way of life and infringe their human rights.
The facility, at Garden House on Copp Road, has been taken over by Nestlings Care and is being run by experienced psychiatrist Salliam Khan and his wife. They say that Great Eccleston is the “perfect environment” for the recovery of the four vulnerable young people to be homed there.
The rehabilitation programme will dedicate resources to integrating residents back into the community.
However, the Khans have received a backlash from locals who argue the conversion of the residence into a care home is not suitable for the area.
Neighbour Mr Roger Goodwill said: “We are talking about young adults up to 18 not children. I have enjoyed a very peaceful and pleasant existence in my 30 years on Copp Lane. It is a lovely area and I wouldn’t want to see anything that threatened that fact or the tranquillity of the village.
“To go against the strength of feeling and wishes of people would show contempt towards the villagers of Great Eccleston.”
Stephen Hunter, who lives next door to the property, said he had concerns for the parking and highway safety surrounding the home.
He added: “There have been two very serious accidents very near to this property, one in which a young motorcyclist died. That part of the highway is not safe.”
Wyre Council has received over 107 letters of objection and ward councillor and committee member Coun Susan Catterall said an unprecedented number of people had concerns over the home and factors related to it.
She added: “With most of the village against it and with the concerns highlighted, I don’t feel I can support this.”
But Wyre councillors called on neighbours to embrace the new facility and granted planning permission for the project.
Coun Barry Birch said: “There is a feeling of ‘not in my back yard’, but I feel there is a valued opportunity for these young people to be nurtured and brought on in a nice, tranquil environment and we owe them every opportunity we can.”
Speaking at the planning committee meeting at Poulton Civic Centre, Dr Khan said: “We are a strong team. Between us we have 100 years of expertise, which is unheard of in this area. This isn’t just commercial, it is about making a change.
“These residents are not drug addicts, sex offenders, criminals. These are young people who have suffered some emotional trauma in their lives .
“Great Eccleston is a place with a close knit community where people are humble and kind and open minded, conducive for these young people to be re-introduced to the community in a controlled environment where they can visit a pub for a Sunday lunch and talk with the local shopkeepers.”