An application to convert a roadside guest house to a children’s care home has been approved by Pembrokeshire planners despite concerns by the local community council.
Ruth Stone of children’s charity Action for Children sought a change of use of the Cross Villa guesthouse, Templeton to a children’s home.
The application for the site at the A478 Boars Head pub/C3065 junction, made through agent Sanderson Weatherall, would see a reduction in the number of rooms, from seven to six.
The plans, which include the creation of new link between the main house and annex and associated works, would see five full-time workers employed on-site.
Local community council Templeton objected to the scheme on the grounds of a lack of amenity space for children, a lack of parking, unsuitable boundaries with neighbours, and a lack of a safe footpath access.
The council also said: “This council has long held and been conveying to Pembrokeshire County Council concerns about the general safety for all pedestrians and indeed road users at that junction, with HGVs using the Boar’s Head car park as an additional turning area sometimes from necessity, and the increased traffic in that area.”
A report for planners said the application was accompanied by a statement setting out the need for the facility, saying the number of children in the care system has significantly risen in recent years, with 2023 being the highest to date.
The Welsh Government (WG) focus is to provide care via the public sector, charitable or not‐for‐profit organisations.
“This will require sufficient placements within the not-for-profit sector by ensuring adequate placements within Wales, with the aim, where possible to place children closer to home,” the report says.
“In regard to Pembrokeshire, the number of children looked after by the authority has increased year-on-year since 2017 putting significant pressure on childcare teams and the use of not-for-profit organisations for additional support for space.”
It added: “It would appear that as there is a year-on-year growth of children requiring care within Pembrokeshire, with an emphasis on not-for-profit facilities, there is a clear and identified need for the provision in this location.”
The application was conditionally approved by planning officers.
Action for Children – originally the National Children’s Home – was created following the experiences of minister Reverend Dr Thomas Bowman Stephenson who, in 1869, saw children living rough under the arches of Waterloo Station.