The owner of a house of multiple occupation on Wokingham Road in Earley will need planning permission to turn it into a children’s care home, the council has ruled.

Tranquillity Care wanted Wokingham Borough Council to confirm the change would be lawful – and so doesn’t need planning permission. The company argued that there would be little real difference between the two uses.

But council planning officers disagreed – and ruled that the firm needs to apply for full planning permission.

A statement on behalf of Tranquillity Care said the home would ‘replicate as closely as possible a normal family environment'.

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It argued that the ‘comings and goings’ at the house would be little different for a care home than to a house of multiple occupation.

The statement said: “In terms of comings and goings, there would be little difference from the current use as a house in multiple occupation to influence its character.”

But council planning officers said the firm would need to apply for full planning permission for a change in use. It said this is because the care home would not be a ‘single household’ and so is a material change from a house of multiple occupation.