Concerns about plans to allow pupils with behavioural problems to live in properties in Box
CONCERNS have been raised about plans by the Novalis Trust to allow pupils with behavioural problems to live in properties in Box.
The charity, which runs the nearby Cotswold Chine School, an independent school for children with behavioural difficulties, owns six properties in the village and an area of woodland.
It also owns the village pub, the Halfway House, but closed it last summer and turned into a café, which was not well received by the community.
Two of the properties, near the village hall, are currently being used as residential accommodation for the pupils at the school.
However, a recent investigation by Stroud District Council’s enforcement team found that the trust did not have planning permission for residential use.
Novalis Trust has now submitted a change of use planning application for the two properties, as well as an adjacent property, which is currently used to store furniture and items from the school.
Villagers say that this will be ‘invasive’ and are concerned about disruption from pupils living in the properties.
Sean Kelly, who lives in Box, said: “We have known for some time that they have been using the houses as dormitories for the kids.
“If a change of use is granted it will be a significant intrusion into the village.
“There has already been disruption to those living nearby such as loud noise and litter.
“If the properties are approved as residential accommodation then trying to manage and contain the behaviour of those in residence will be very difficult.”
Jake Lukas, chief executive of Novalis Trust, said: “Children and adults living together in a normal family house provides a valuable experience for the young people.
“The school, which celebrates 60 years next year, aims to keep these properties as separate houses not to change them into anything else.
“We have constantly worked hard to ensure that any difficulties the young people experience in their day to day lives has as little impact on the local community as possible, however the school is a specialist school supporting very complex young people and as a result we strive to strike an appropriate balance between young people being able to express themselves in a way that does not have an adverse effect on the surrounding area."
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