A PLANNING application that would see a prominent home in a Tyne Valley village turned into a home for children and young people with emotional and mental health needs has caused concern among residents.

Residential care company Interactive Development Residential has submitted a change of use application to Northumberland County Council to turn a house known as Greystones in Oakwood into a five-bed children’s home.

A supporting statement for the application described the aim of the service.

It read: “We are committed to providing a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment, in which children and young people can be supported to build resilience and enjoy positive experiences whilst building on their independence and life skills to prepare them for adulthood.

"Psychological support is provided by experienced clinical psychologists who work with young people where appropriate

"The home also works towards supporting independence or reunification where possible to their birth family or long-term foster care placement.”

It went on to say that the company provided similar provisions in neighbouring areas, and Greystones met the key criteria due to its rural location and close proximity to Hexham.

Education for the children and young people is offered at ID Academy in Seaton Burn.

But residents of Oakwood are concerned that the village is not the best place for the home.

Dave Wooff grew up in the village and his parents still live there. With his background in education, he fears the location is an accident waiting to happen.

He said: “In Oakwood, there’s no street lights, no footpaths, and only four buses to Hexham.

“Thinking back to my time there, unless your parents are prepared to drive you to Hexham there’s nothing to do.

“Had there been a shop there or amenities or places for kids to play or get safely into Hexham, then maybe, but there’s nothing.

“I think it’s one of those things, it’s a company from out of the area sending kids 25 miles away to school. How is that in the interests of the kids?”

Mr Wooff wanted to make it clear that he was not concerned about children with additional needs coming to the village.

He added: “I know how it comes across but it’s not that people don’t want it there.

“I’ve taught in tough schools, I’ve seen the worst of kids. That’s not the issue. You’re setting them up to be isolated.

“It just feels like an accident waiting to happen.”