Concerns grow in village after council "secretly" buys house for children's home

The Northern Echo: The Old Vicarage in Stillington The Old Vicarage in Stillington

VILLAGERS have told of their concern after a council bought a house to be used as a children’s home.

The Old Vicarage in Stillington has been bought for £400,000 by Stockton Borough Council to be used for five children.

An informal residents’ meeting has already been held in the village and The Northern Echo could not find one villager in favour of the plan today (Wednesday, April 30).

The large detached house was listed for sale at £325,000 but a potential buyer has claimed she was “gazumped” by the council.

The house was bought as part of a £2m scheme to allow the council to bring 20 looked-after children, aged from eight to 18, back to the area by buying four residential properties.

The authority has already refurbished King Edwin School in Stockton and expects to save £400,000 a year by bringing children currently sent elsewhere back to Stockton.

If planning permission is approved, Scottish company Spark of Genius will run the care homes and school.

Similar proposals in Hartburn and Thorpe Thewles have met with opposition.

The council’s policy of buying homes before making the authority’s intentions public has been met with criticism by several leading councillors.

“The best place for them would be a council estate in the town,” said one 60-year-old woman in the village who did not wish to be named, who explained she had moved to the village for peace and quiet 16 years ago.

Another villager, a retired man, who also didn’t wish to be named, said he had nothing against the children but disagreed with the “secret” way the council had bought the home.

A father-of-two was worried the home is right next to the village primary school.

Once again, asking not to be named, he said: “We’ve no information on the type of young person who will be there and it’s just a whisper’s distance from the school. Our children are vulnerable too in terms of their innocence.”

Coun Ann McCoy, Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “Residents will have an opportunity to comment on the change of use so that their views can be taken into consideration when Planning Committee decides whether to refuse or agree the change of use.”

A public meeting for residents to discuss the plans has been organised by Stockton Council and Spark of Genius at Stillington Community Centre, on Lowson Street, 6.30pm tomorrow, Thursday.

Comments (14)

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8:56pm Wed 30 Apr 14

Hunty1 says...

So one woman is bitter because she was beaten on price, one guy is worried that there's going to be a children's home next to a school, one woman thinks the home should be on a council estate, well I'm sorry you poor small minded people, there are children in our society that need help and stability, they need to be allowed a chance to grow and develop in a safe place away from places where society has been unkind. To be honest I would of loved the opportunity to purchase such a property and was told as soon as it was marketed there were offers on the table above the asking price. Maybe Nigel Farage should tout for members to join his party from Stillington... It appears there's some like minded people who want everyone that doesn't fit extradited!
So one woman is bitter because she was beaten on price, one guy is worried that there's going to be a children's home next to a school, one woman thinks the home should be on a council estate, well I'm sorry you poor small minded people, there are children in our society that need help and stability, they need to be allowed a chance to grow and develop in a safe place away from places where society has been unkind. To be honest I would of loved the opportunity to purchase such a property and was told as soon as it was marketed there were offers on the table above the asking price. Maybe Nigel Farage should tout for members to join his party from Stillington... It appears there's some like minded people who want everyone that doesn't fit extradited! Hunty1
  • Score: 32

12:41am Thu 1 May 14

pandorica says...

Oh what a bunch of snobs. These are children for goodness sake not monsters. They have already had a tough start to life through no fault of their own, and now villagers have the nerve to make it tougher for them. Well tough s&it!!! Deal with it.
Oh what a bunch of snobs. These are children for goodness sake not monsters. They have already had a tough start to life through no fault of their own, and now villagers have the nerve to make it tougher for them. Well tough s&it!!! Deal with it. pandorica
  • Score: 24

7:38am Thu 1 May 14

stevegg says...

NIMBYS who think absolutely nothing should spoil their rural idylic lifestyles and issues like this should always be someone elses problem, never theirs. They obviously think they are better than us plebs, their sheer arrogance just oozes off them.
NIMBYS who think absolutely nothing should spoil their rural idylic lifestyles and issues like this should always be someone elses problem, never theirs. They obviously think they are better than us plebs, their sheer arrogance just oozes off them. stevegg
  • Score: 16

12:51pm Thu 1 May 14

whyeye says...

What a disgraceful "not on our doorstep" attitude from small minded morons.
What a disgraceful "not on our doorstep" attitude from small minded morons. whyeye
  • Score: 11

1:32pm Thu 1 May 14

Voice-of-reality says...

It is reasonable to assume, given the sums involved, that a goodly proportion of the objectors are higher rate taxpayers. Given, therefore, that they already pay 'more than their fair share' to fund such initiatives (along with the costs of subsidising the living costs of the council house residents also noted in the comments above) the compaint seems more than reasonable. They already have to pay for others - why should they also be forced to live next to them when.
It is reasonable to assume, given the sums involved, that a goodly proportion of the objectors are higher rate taxpayers. Given, therefore, that they already pay 'more than their fair share' to fund such initiatives (along with the costs of subsidising the living costs of the council house residents also noted in the comments above) the compaint seems more than reasonable. They already have to pay for others - why should they also be forced to live next to them when. Voice-of-reality
  • Score: -16

2:53pm Thu 1 May 14

pandorica says...

Voice-of-reality wrote:
It is reasonable to assume, given the sums involved, that a goodly proportion of the objectors are higher rate taxpayers. Given, therefore, that they already pay 'more than their fair share' to fund such initiatives (along with the costs of subsidising the living costs of the council house residents also noted in the comments above) the compaint seems more than reasonable. They already have to pay for others - why should they also be forced to live next to them when.
Forced to live door to them??? What children??? Its Stillington we are talking about, not exactly a beautiful rural village is it?

If it was one of their children being complained about then I am sure they would not be so quick to jump to conclusions without knowing the full facts.
[quote][p][bold]Voice-of-reality[/bold] wrote: It is reasonable to assume, given the sums involved, that a goodly proportion of the objectors are higher rate taxpayers. Given, therefore, that they already pay 'more than their fair share' to fund such initiatives (along with the costs of subsidising the living costs of the council house residents also noted in the comments above) the compaint seems more than reasonable. They already have to pay for others - why should they also be forced to live next to them when.[/p][/quote]Forced to live door to them??? What children??? Its Stillington we are talking about, not exactly a beautiful rural village is it? If it was one of their children being complained about then I am sure they would not be so quick to jump to conclusions without knowing the full facts. pandorica
  • Score: 9

3:17pm Thu 1 May 14

Voice-of-reality says...

I had, for which I apologise, misplaced by Stllingtons and was thinking of the one near York.
I had, for which I apologise, misplaced by Stllingtons and was thinking of the one near York. Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 1

4:26pm Thu 1 May 14

Jg9732 says...

This is disgraceful. These are children, whose situation is no fault of their own. Why should they be sent to live on a council estate ? Council estates are known to not be the greatest of environments, if the kids grew up there god forbid they'd turn into "ASBO's" then people would be moaning about that too.

All these tax payers who are complaining, are funding this anyway, why not make the best of it and allow these children the chance to live within their home region, maybe even be able to have contact with friends and family, or do they want to ship them off to somewhere else in the country and condemn them to a life of loneliness and displacement. This is the future generation, do we not want them to be decent people.
This is disgraceful. These are children, whose situation is no fault of their own. Why should they be sent to live on a council estate ? Council estates are known to not be the greatest of environments, if the kids grew up there god forbid they'd turn into "ASBO's" then people would be moaning about that too. All these tax payers who are complaining, are funding this anyway, why not make the best of it and allow these children the chance to live within their home region, maybe even be able to have contact with friends and family, or do they want to ship them off to somewhere else in the country and condemn them to a life of loneliness and displacement. This is the future generation, do we not want them to be decent people. Jg9732
  • Score: 3

4:43pm Thu 1 May 14

markcoke74 says...

I find it abhorrent that someone can be as hypocritical as the woman who moved to the village 16 years ago can make a statement that children belong on to Council Estate. I wonder if she consulted the villages before moving asking if they minded the village being full of pompous geriatric retired snobs! Shame on you.
I find it abhorrent that someone can be as hypocritical as the woman who moved to the village 16 years ago can make a statement that children belong on to Council Estate. I wonder if she consulted the villages before moving asking if they minded the village being full of pompous geriatric retired snobs! Shame on you. markcoke74
  • Score: 12

8:10pm Thu 1 May 14

Littlebelle1994 says...

This is disgraceful & I personally am dissapointed in the Northern Echo for printing these comments where other looked after children could read them!

These children who often come from very very difficult backgrounds are going to be far safer and more settled in a quiet area than on a "council estate".

I'm disgusted that the attitude of the public is to shun these children away, as oppose to wanting to protect and support them!
This is disgraceful & I personally am dissapointed in the Northern Echo for printing these comments where other looked after children could read them! These children who often come from very very difficult backgrounds are going to be far safer and more settled in a quiet area than on a "council estate". I'm disgusted that the attitude of the public is to shun these children away, as oppose to wanting to protect and support them! Littlebelle1994
  • Score: 12

9:39pm Thu 1 May 14

Voice-of-reality says...

Will they be 'more settled and safer' - or will they become 'bored and dangerous' - given that is no way of knowing (thouugh experience suggests the former) why risk it? The attitude of society is not to shun these children - that was the attitude displayed by their parents or other relatives - otherwise they would not be in care homes. Society does protect and support such children - it pays for their very existence when their families failed so to do.
Further, it is not 'disgraceful' that the NE publishes comments - people - whether they are the ones who, socio-economically, pay the bills or the ones who benefit from the bills beind paid have the right to have an opinion and to have it challenged. There is nothing to stop one of the well educated, well adjusted, safer and settled children presently in care from commenting - whether they choose to do so is up to them.
Will they be 'more settled and safer' - or will they become 'bored and dangerous' - given that is no way of knowing (thouugh experience suggests the former) why risk it? The attitude of society is not to shun these children - that was the attitude displayed by their parents or other relatives - otherwise they would not be in care homes. Society does protect and support such children - it pays for their very existence when their families failed so to do. Further, it is not 'disgraceful' that the NE publishes comments - people - whether they are the ones who, socio-economically, pay the bills or the ones who benefit from the bills beind paid have the right to have an opinion and to have it challenged. There is nothing to stop one of the well educated, well adjusted, safer and settled children presently in care from commenting - whether they choose to do so is up to them. Voice-of-reality
  • Score: -1

11:17am Fri 2 May 14

*mummysmitty* says...

I am a resident of Stillington village, (Cleveland). A lot of you are misunderstanding or not getting the full story. Most of the villagers, including myself, do not have a problem with the kids, we are just angry the the council have done things the way they have without letting us know. We have not been given full details as to what is going to happen. If these children are just poor kids that have been taken away from abusive situations, I have no problem with that. However if it is going to be turned into a place where young people who are put, who commit crimes, then I do have concerns.
Please don't judge us or call us small minded or snobby, until you know the facts
I am a resident of Stillington village, (Cleveland). A lot of you are misunderstanding or not getting the full story. Most of the villagers, including myself, do not have a problem with the kids, we are just angry the the council have done things the way they have without letting us know. We have not been given full details as to what is going to happen. If these children are just poor kids that have been taken away from abusive situations, I have no problem with that. However if it is going to be turned into a place where young people who are put, who commit crimes, then I do have concerns. Please don't judge us or call us small minded or snobby, until you know the facts *mummysmitty*
  • Score: 3

6:40pm Fri 2 May 14

359282 says...

If these residents have such a high opinion of their own standing, them surely they are the perfect people to set these poor kids an example. As for the council acting "secretly" , the planning process is a matter of public record .
If these residents have such a high opinion of their own standing, them surely they are the perfect people to set these poor kids an example. As for the council acting "secretly" , the planning process is a matter of public record . 359282
  • Score: 0

4:54pm Sat 3 May 14

bambara says...

Take the kids out of bad situations, and give them a chance. You cannot blame the kids for the failures of their parents.
The kids are innocent of any crimes commited by the parents. they deserve a chance to make a life for themselves irrespective of how unlucky they have been by accident of birth.
Take the kids out of bad situations, and give them a chance. You cannot blame the kids for the failures of their parents. The kids are innocent of any crimes commited by the parents. they deserve a chance to make a life for themselves irrespective of how unlucky they have been by accident of birth. bambara
  • Score: -1

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