PLANS have been submitted to transform a residential property into a children’s home despite community concerns.

An application for ‘change of use’ has been submitted to Durham County Council for a house in Hickstead Rise, in Newton Aycliffe.

If granted, the proposal would see the home become a residential institution designed to meet the needs of three young people aged between 11 and 17.

The statement of purpose says: "It is a home designed to meet the needs of three young people and is situated in a quiet area of Newton Aycliffe.

“{The property} provides clear boundaries, structure and a daily routine for young people. We endeavour to ensure they feel safe and secure. Staff actively support and encourage young people to have a ‘voice’, in determining how they are cared for.

"This in time helps to improve their self-confidence and their self-esteem. Staff strive to make young people feel safe, loved and valued in order to build meaningful relationships with young people, based on mutual respect."

The plans have been met by criticism however, from nearby residents who feel it is an unsuitable site for a care home.

One comment published on the planning website read: “I object to Durham County Council changing the property to an institution, this is a private residential area. I grew up in Woodham Village and moving back to Woodham into Hickstead Rise with my young family, I don’t believe considering the small street that this is a suitable property.

“I really don’t understand why Durham County Council do this, Woodham already has a number of houses already used for institutional purposes, there has to be a cut off point.

“A house in Hasslewood Road, Newton Aycliffe, six bedroom, is £250,000 – this would save £100k, has Durham County Council got unlimited funds?”

Another comment read: “It is without a doubt that the children and young people who will live at the property have a right and a need to be housed and cared for but these children have been in the care system for some time and are often the result of breakdowns in the home environment or within previous care facilities. There can be previous issues of all extremes that may not always be able to be contained by the staff and therefore could cause disruption on the street. Staff are well trained and have a lot of experience in dealing with these incidents however resident won't be and may find what can be deemed as unsociable behaviour distressing and worrying."

Other comments also said residents are worried about increased crime rates, extra traffic and parking issues.

Comments on the proposals can be submitted online at