Plans to turn a shut Exeter pub into a children’s home have been given the go-ahead.
City councillors approved proposals for The Globe Inn, in Clifton Road, saying the hub will be a haven for ‘some of the most vulnerable’ youngsters.
They voted by nine to one in favour of the scheme.
Applicant Central and Southern Homes Ltd has been working with Devon County Council (DCC) to create an eight-bed facility in Exeter called The Globe.
It will cater for young people between the aged between eight and 18 with emotional and behavioural difficulties who may have suffered traumatic experiences.
Councillors were told that the property had been had marketed and, of the offers to come in, only one was from a known pub operator.
The Globe Inn, which dates back to 1844, closed in July 2019.
Plans said: said: “The Globe Inn presents a rare opportunity to provide a sizable children’s home in a city centre location yet in a quiet residential neighbourhood.
The application stated that, in 2018/19, 71 of 120 children had to be placed outside of Devon because of a shortage of places – and the Covid-19 crisis has exacerbated the problem.
The upper floors of The Globe Inn will be for children aged between eight and 16.
Three ground-floor apartments, for 16- to 18-year-olds, will focus on developing independence and life skills before leaving care.
Recommending the application for approval, Exeter City Council planning officers said: “The council must be mindful of the fact that Clifton Road does retain one public house, The Clifton Inn.
“Newtown is not, therefore, left without any local meeting places.
“It is also in close proximity to the city centre where many other public houses exist within a short walk of the area.
“Consequently, the loss of a pub here, while regrettable, would not have the same impact as, for instance, a rural village losing its only inn.
“It is also important to add that a children’s home would itself be an alternative community facility.
“Whilst very different in character and nature, not least in that it would not be a meeting place for local residents, it would provide a service that meets the community and welfare needs of the area.”
Councillor Rachel Sutton said: “This is for a home for some of the most vulnerable children in society – looked after children – and they do need a lot of support.
“The applicant has a strategy and the staff in place for the support, and these children deserve the opportunity. If they are to grow into responsible members of the community then we have to have them in the community.
“You cannot just plonk them on the outskirts and I was shocked to hear that 71 of 120 children were placed out of the county due to a lack of places. That’s just awful.
“This is a good application on balance, and I wish the young people living there well.”
Cllr Rob Hannaford added: “It is always sad to lose community facilities and pubs, but we know this is what the future may look like for some of the establishments in the city.
“I hope this unit will be a success and gives some support and independence to the young people.”