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Prader-Willi Home in St Peter’s Road

Vanessa Gent writes (Oct 2008)

Dear Sir, several people [in St Peter’s road] have expressed concern at the secrecy which has enshrouded the opening of a home for Prader-Willi sufferers.  I have worked with people with this condition at the College and am aware that they are not disruptive and are generally very likeable people.  However, somebody mentioned that it is to be a secure unit (presumably to protect residents from the dangers posed by local takeaways and food outlets, as their calorific intake must strictly be monitored) and this will surely impact on house prices in the vicinity.

I wasn’t aware that the Council could open up a secure unit such as this in a residential area without consulting neighbours – I am not sure whether it is to be administered by the Council or privately managed, but presumably the Council must have made the decision to let the use be altered in this way. The Council should be aware that feelings in the road are quite strong.  We have not been informed at any stage of the planning or development of the home, and all that most of us know at this stage is hearsay.

Vanessa Gent, St Peter’s Road


Andrew Cartwright writes (Oct 2008)

My understanding of the general legal position is as follows: “In many cases, a change of use of a building or land does not require planning permission if both the present and proposed uses fall within the same ‘class’ as defined in the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987. C3: dwelling houses, family houses, or houses occupied by up to six residents living together as a single household, including a household where care is provided for residents.” I understand that this definition has been tested in the courts. Of course, I don’t know what the precise facts are re. 36 St Peter’s Road and I accept that you are concerned about the matter so I have emailed the Development Control Manager regarding this matter in case there has been a breach of planning law.
Vanessa Gent: I feel there is little point in continuing our dialogue. It would appear that there is a loophole in the law, and very little can be done as the residents in our road have absolutely no recourse.  Perhaps there should be a review of such by-laws.

Cllr Andrew Cartwright

Prader-Willi Syndrome  was first described in 1956 by Swiss doctors, Prof. A Prader, Dr H Willi and others. Features of the condition include obesity caused by excessive appetite and overeating, central nervous system and endocrine gland dysfunction causing varying degrees of learning disability, short stature, somnolence, and poor emotional and social development. PWS is caused by an abnormality on chromosome 15. The condition is quite rare, occurring possibly only once in every 22,000 births. There is currently no cure. [Prader-Willi Syndrome Association (UK)]

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