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TORFAEN: Childminder extension refused

A REQUEST by a childminder to be allowed to double the number of chuldren she can care for has been put on hold by a council, which has said the plans would have changed the use of her house from a home to a business. 

Alison Wicks already has permission to care for up to five children at her home at Neerings, Coed Eva in Cwmbran – but had wanted Torfaen Borough Council to say her plan to increase this to 10 children, aged from newborns to eight-years-old, was a lawful use of the property and wouldn’t require a change of use planning permission. 

She said she planned to take on an assistant to help care for the children from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday and that she also intended to purchase a minibus to collect children from school.

There would also be a maximum of 10, staggered drop-offs by parents, using a shared residential car parking court, while the one member of staff would also require a parking space. 

But the council’s planning department said the plans, which didn’t involve any alteration to the house, would cause disruption to the residential area and that arrangements such as keeping a minibus for transporting the children are more in keeping with a business than a private residence. 

Planning officer Simon Pritchard wrote in his report: “The ‘planning’ required to manage the vehicular trips, would not be akin to a residential use but one associated with a business involving a material change of use. The day-to-day activity associated with the use is not considered similar to that of a dwellinghouse.” 

He also wrote: “The comings and goings of children/parents/staff and the activities that would take place within and outside the property would also result in additional noise and disturbance over that expected from a terraced dwelling (and the existing use). Thus, the residential character of the property and immediate area would result in a material change of use.”

His report concluded the application for a certificate of lawful development should be refused and a change to accommodate up to 10 children and an additional staff member would require planning permission.