Secure children’s home in Sheffield suburb ‘to be expanded’ following Covid-19 pandemic

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Sheffield’s secure children’s home could expand further after the pandemic highlighted a need for more space.

Aldine House on Limb Lane at Dore wants to erect a two storey extension for use as staff offices and storage, plus additional car parking bays

A two storey bedroom extension and staff link block are currently under construction, due for completion in June 2022.

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Residents are unhappy about the latest expansion and have objected, saying it is a “planning creep” into the green belt.

Sheffield's secure children's home, Aldine House at Dore, is hoping to expand further (image Peak Architects)Sheffield's secure children's home, Aldine House at Dore, is hoping to expand further (image Peak Architects)
Sheffield's secure children's home, Aldine House at Dore, is hoping to expand further (image Peak Architects)

The home, run by Sheffield Council, is one of only 14 secure children’s homes in England. It opened in 1997 as the city’s sole residential secure school facility and was built to accommodate eight children.

Pandemic highlighted need for extra space

An application by Peak Architects says: “The school is owned and managed by Sheffield Council and is in great demand, from within the city and further afield, with a strong reputation and 100 per cent occupancy in the last few years.

“This has seen the home expand its provision in recent years initially to 10 bedrooms and is currently being extended to provide 12 bedrooms, along with a multi-use games area to provide additional secure outdoor play and sport facilities.”

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The application says Aldine House has historically struggled with staff space and several areas have had to be adapted to meet this need over the years.

“Aldine House has increased the staffing ratios in recent years to enable the support of very complex and traumatised children and additional space is now needed to safely accommodate these staff.

“The past 22 months of the pandemic has highlighted the need for larger staff spaces within the home, as many of the smaller offices have now been designated as single person workspaces due to social distancing.”

The design of the building has certain requirements. The application adds: “The need to design for robustness and security, to reduce opportunity for ligature, self-harm and vandalism to ensure the safety and security of all users of the building is paramount.”

Neighbours are unhappy

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Residents have objected. One said: “There has been extensive development over the last few years at Aldine House, which has overdeveloped the site and caused disruption to residents.

“I object to any further development which also creeps into the green belt and hope the development of Aldine House does not set a precedent for any development nearby.”

Another resident said: “I strongly object to the further development of Aldine House. There has been considerable development of the site as well as the installation of the games pitch and fencing.

“I’m concerned the overall approach seems to rely upon planning creep. This area is green belt with significant proximity to Ecclesall woods, the Peak District National Park and Dore Village conservation area.

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“Further development of any kind gives concern to further traffic generation, noise and disturbance with subsequent effect on local nature and wildlife.”

And a third resident said: “There have been considerable extensions and external works carried out in the past. This is not a small application but part of a large ongoing development that has been going on for some time.”

Planning officers are considering the application