FREDDY SHEPHERD’S luxurious former home will be turned into a children’s care facility – despite neighbours’ fears over anti-social behaviour.

Plans to turn the mansion, where the ex-Newcastle United co-owner lived before taking over the football club, into a care home to support some of the city’s most vulnerable youngsters were approved by council bosses. The Action for Children charity now has planning permission to begin its transformation of the Westacre Gardens home, in Fenham, Newcastle, which civic centre bosses say will help to keep children close to their friends and family rather than being forced out of the area.

Newcastle City Council’s planning committee was unanimous in its support for the project, in spite of a string of objections from neighbours. Councillors heard that the development would have a “hugely negative impact” on neighbours’ privacy, as well as causing parking problems in the street.

Cllr John Stokel-Walker said he had a “number of misgivings” about the project, particularly around the feared rise in anti-social behaviour. He said: “The problem we have is that we don’t know the background of these young people. It may be that if they have such troubled backgrounds they may be more susceptible to anti-social behaviour than a normal household.”

Kath Lawless, the local authority’s assistant director of planning, replied that Northumbria Police had raised no objection to the plans and that the risk of anti-social behaviour would effectively be the same as any normal family home where there might be “unruly children”. Cllr Paula Holland added: “As a local authority we have a duty of care to place these children in the best environment we possibly can. Yes, they might have issues, lots of children do. But it will be managed in a very professional environment."

Mr Shepherd, who died in 2017, sold the property in 1979 and it went back on the market last year priced at just short of £400,000.