A RECENT brief report in this newspaper revealed that, once again, Birtenshaw School management had quietly purchased a local house and was converting it into a disabled children’s community home, on the Barratt housing development off Turton Road.

Residents and planners would seem not to be informed about this activity by the school, as it happened one year ago with another dwelling in the Bradshaw area in the same way.

How many more are to be bought and converted and what about the democratic right to be consulted, given that cars belonging to the live-in carers end up parked all across the frontages of neighbours?

The problem this passive local planning department has is with its automatic granting of retrospective permission through a mere certificate.

The opinion of an experienced senior planning official I know of was clear that a full planning application and permission is required when the carer adult is not a family member. It is known as a “revolving adult”.

I am sure that the school feels that it is in its best interests to buy up houses nearby and convert them on the quiet, but the council’s stance may leave it open to claims for substantial compensation from residents affected.

It is time that there was an independent review of the planning department.

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