Hope for Letchworth care home

Betty Howard, Claire Botterman, Georgia Field, Katrina Nice, Janet Birchell, Helen Birchell and Davi

Betty Howard, Claire Botterman, Georgia Field, Katrina Nice, Janet Birchell, Helen Birchell and David Ward hold a petition because children will now have to sent to Rippon Road in Stevenage. The parents have launched a petition to give to Herts County Council - Credit: Archant

A COUNCIL has been given a second chance to save a respite care home from closing, after it emerged an original application from the authority was not completed properly.

Parents of special needs children who attend Wilbury House in Letchworth GC are outraged at plans by Herts County Council to move the facility to Stevenage.

Following a meeting last week, it emerged Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation (LCGHF) had to reject an application from the county council to negotiate the lease, because it lacked detail.

Speaking on behalf of the Wilbury House Action Group, parent Clare Botterman said: “We were disgusted to learn that the county council did not make a full representation of our children’s needs.

“We feel very let down and now we hope they will take this second chance and submit an application to the heritage foundation, making a more comprehensive application to keep Wilbury a short term respite care home.

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“We request that a truthful and honest submission be made in order that the matter can be reconsidered and we would ask that the Wilbury House Action Group have sight of any revised application for the foundation’s trustees to consider.”

Following the meeting, John Golden, head of property at LGCHF, who own the building, told the Comet the foundation would accept another application.

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“As has always been the case, the heritage foundation board is happy to consider any new application from Hertfordshire County Council for revised or modified use of Wilbury House,” he said.

“If HCC did make a new application we would then consult local residents and expect the council to provide details of how it would address the objections that have been raised previously.”

As things stand, the 43 children who attend the respite home could be forced to leave the facility and go to a similar provision in Ripon Road, Stevenage.

In addition to issues surrounding the lease, HCC allege the move is due to noise complaints from residents. Wilbury House Action Group claims just one person has complained – something the county council denies.

A spokesman said: “Our application addressed the issue about change of lease and provided details about the activity levels at the house, in terms of the number of families using the service and the range of activities that are delivered.

“A letter updating parents on how we plan to deliver our short-break service in the future is being sent today and we will be updating the local neighbours before the weekend.”

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