Elderly villagers say they are “not going to feel safe” after the council’s decision to convert a nearby property into a care home for children with complex needs.

Oxfordshire County Council has proposed the purchase Greenways, a five-bedroom freehold detached house in Wootton, near Abingdon, as part of its Children’s Services Residential Capital Programme.

The property has been identified as meeting the requirements for the Small Solo Children’s Home - a specialist residential care organisation - for up to two children.

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The estimated full year running costs for the home are £850,000, including £24,000 for property related costs.

A spokesperson for Oxfordshire County Council said: "We are keen to create more in-house care home provision for children in care in Oxfordshire. This proposed home would be for two Oxfordshire children.”

Some nearby householders have concerns around the potential behaviour of the children.

Carl Stubbs, who lives with his wife Susan in the house next to Greenways, said: “My biggest concern is with my neighbour on the other side.

“She’s in her 80s and lives alone. She is so scared and worried about the children that are going to be moved into Greenways.

“These children currently live with foster carers, and they have to go into this special home for 24-hour coverage. That’s what’s worrying my neighbour, and us. It’s not really a family dwelling.

“We don’t feel that we’re going to be safe. We’re fearful of the potential dangers. I had dealings with children’s homes in my past job as a systems manager at Oxford Brookes University.

“We would visit local nurseries for energy installations and the kids were never a problem, but when you’re talking about a home which needs constant care, night and day…”

The 76-year-old added: “Luckily, I’ve got CCTV and locked gates. The council has told me if I need to make a complaint – which I will – then I should walk around to the property and make it myself. But I don’t think that would be a good idea.”

Mr Stubbs feels that the council “told villagers” the purchase was going to happen, rather than “asking” if neighbours would be okay with the setup.

A council spokesperson said: “We are always very keen to engage with local residents and would be happy to discuss this with Mr Stubbs and others.”

Approval of the Children’s Services Residential Capital Programme was received on December 5 last year.

This was for the acquisition and associated works of four residential properties across the county to be converted to children’s homes.


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1