‘Yes’ for East Devon farmhouse to be used as therapeutic school for vulnerable youngsters

East Devon planning chiefs have approved proposals for a farmhouse between Talaton and Feniton to be used as a therapeutic school for young people who’ve suffered severe trauma.

The independent, not-for-profit education hub on the ground-floor of the dwelling at Royston Farm, in Talewater, will have an initial intake of five students.

An application from MiMe Heuristics CIC was given the go-ahead by East Devon District Council (EDDC) this week.

Separate proposals for a social and therapeutic horticultural project at the farm – including a polytunnel, garden building and yurt – were approved in 2015.

The most recent plans, for the farmhouse to be used as a teaching space, stated: “This application seeks full consent to use the land and part of the farmhouse…specifically for the provision of an educational facility to cater for the special needs of children referred to the school by Devon County Council.

“Under the proposed plans the school would have an initial intake of five students, with the capacity to have up to ten students within the existing facilities at the site.

“The applicant has been working within the education system for almost 20 years and is committed to developing a unique, independent school that focuses on the recovery from early trauma and associated SEMH [social, emotional and mental health] needs of young people and their families.

“With the recovery from adverse childhood experiences as a focus, the school will be focussed on therapeutic recovery.

The application added: “Whilst there would be an academic focus, this would be achieved through developing long-term positive mental health, the ability to live happy, healthy and safe lives, maintaining relationships in a positive manner and access to employment.

“A calm, quiet, rural setting is an essential part of creating an environment that will support the recovery of these most vulnerable young people.”

Granting the scheme planning permission under delegated powers, an EDDC officer said: “The proposal is supported by the education authority with students being referred by Devon Country Council and it is considered that the proposed use is appropriate and best suited to a quiet rural environment.”

Talaton Parish Council had supported the bid and said the facility ‘will bring a much-needed asset to the area’.

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