A house in Earley will become a care home after councillors gave it approval this week.

The house on Stanton Close could be a home for up to two children, though Wokingham Borough Council expects it to normally house just one. There will also be a room for carers.

The council had earmarked the site as a suitable location for a council-run care home – but needed to get planning permission from its planning committee first.

Council leaders have previously spoken of their wish to run more children’s care homes themselves and to rely less on private providers and charities.

Nathan Whitley from the council’s Children’s Services department said the proposal would help to stop children in care being sent far away from home.

Speaking to the committee on Wednesday, August 9, he said: “Currently Wokingham children in residential care are placed many miles from home. The distance can have a real impact on the child, the team around the child and the child’s family.

“Children can feel isolated and abandoned because of this and the family will feel a greater sense of separation and that can impact on a child – which is always our hope – to return home.”

Mr Whitley also said the home would be one of three that the council hopes to run, and that it would be staffed 24 hours a day.

Mr Whitley added: “Our expectation is that we would only ever have one child there other than for some unusual emergency circumstances, as currently we do. We have one child within the premises, so very little change to how it is now.”

READ MORE: Wokingham council wants permission for children’s home in Earley

Stephen Newton, councillor for Maiden Erlegh, asked for the committee to add conditions on its approval of the plan.

Mentioning that he and his wife are foster carers, he said: “Nearly all looked after children have experienced trauma, and this can come out through behaviour, additional noise and other issues.”

Councillor Newton also said residents had raised a “legitimate concern” about parking on the road. He wanted the committee to demand a parking area in front of the house.

And he suggested installing soundproofing to the house, and requiring “community engagement” by the home’s manager with local residents.

The committee voted to approve the care home unanimously, but with the condition that the home should make “maximum use” of its space for off-road parking.

It also issued two “informatives” – which are comments on the application rather than enforceable conditions – to the approval to monitor noise levels, and to regularly engage with residents.