OWNERS of a family house have asked a council whether they would need planning permission to turn it into a home for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties months after neighbours opposed the plan.

The owners of Lilac House in Hunwick have asked Durham County Council for a certificate of lawfulness which would enable them to house up to four children at a time in need of social care.

In their application, Empowering Youth to Enable Success (Eyes), said the house would be used to give children from disadvantaged backgrounds a new start.

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The company, which was formed in 2012 by friends Iain Douglas and Ian Rutter, said the home on South View would not be used for drug users, alcoholics, persistent offenders, people with learning and physical disabilities or youths who display sexually harmful behaviours.

It would instead house children time aged between 11 and 16 who suffer from emotional and behavioural difficulties caused by abuse and neglect.

Eyes said: “If children in care are not given help, they are very likely to turn from the victim into the perpetrator.

“To do our part in breaking this cycle we aim to provide outstanding (as rated by Ofsted) residential support for children who have suffered abuse at the hands of others to overcome their experiences and build appropriate, caring relationships.”

In practice Eyes said the home would run much like a normal family home with teenage children The company said: “Fundamentally there are no material changes to property, its use or to the community.

“The home will operate no differently to that of a family home of a similar size.”

Only children from a 25 mile area, including places like Hartlepool, Stockton and Middlesbrough would use the service, and Eyes said the Hunwick, a “low crime village” with a “peaceful character” would remove the negative influences of large towns.

Previous plans were withdrawn last year after hundreds of neighbours opposed the scheme claiming it would disrupt village life.

Eyes said: “Lilac House will endeavour to make a positive contribution to Hunwick and will not admit children who will pose a negative impact on the village.”

For more information or to have your say on the application visit durham.gov.uk