A CHILDREN’S home in Grays has been given the go-ahead following a previous planning refusal.

Five children with physical and learning disabilities will be accommodated at the property in Catharine Close, Chafford Hundred, after permitted development rights were approved.

A previous application last year was refused as a garage was initially included in the plan to accommodate children aged between seven and 17 in the five-bedroom detached house despite having no planning permission for change of use.

The residents would share facilities such a bathroom, kitchen, and garden and as such planning officers said they would live in a similar manner to tenants within a residential property.

They added: “The level of activity at the site in association with proposed use would not be materially different to the existing use of this site and will not exceed six people.”

The council received comments from The Essex Police Designing out Crime Office about the application requesting meeting with the applicant.

The nature of police concerns was not revealed, however.

A report by planning officers said: “Although matters of the health and wellbeing of any future occupiers of the property are important, they would fall outside the scope of the consideration of this type of application.

“Therefore, planning officer advised for the meeting to be arranged independently between the applicant and Designing out Crime Officer/Crime Prevention Tactical Advisor from Essex Police.”

The applicant, Elaine Blackadder, project delivery manager for Safe As Houses Property Investments, was also advised to arrange a meeting with Thurrock Council’s children’s services team.

Last year it was reported Thurrock Council is spending £4 million a year caring for just ten children with special needs.                                                                                                                                                             A report to cabinet also outlined expected increases in children with autism, youngsters with speech and language difficulties and those with learning difficulties over the next five years.

Many such children require specialist accommodation, often only available outside the borough.

Caring for vulnerable children costs between £255,650 per year up to £842,976 per year.