‘I’ve had enough’: Councillor’s call to shut down children’s homes

A county councillor wants to shut down two therapeutic children’s homes due to continued claims of long-term, disruption to neighbouring families.

By Tom Burton
Wednesday, 10th June 2015, 12:17 pm
Steven Lambert, county councillor for Aylesbury West
Steven Lambert, county councillor for Aylesbury West

Steven Lambert, who serves Aylesbury West, said one family has moved to Cornwall to escape the issues.

He says teenage residents at Benjamin UK’s Asher House and Joseph House have been causing problems for up to 10 years.

Mr Lambert has now written to Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, Anthony Stansfeld, following reports of kitchen knives and bottles being thrown into nearby gardens.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

And after years of petitions and finding legislation to shut them down, he is fed up with what he calls a ‘really bad situation’.

He said: “I’ve even thought about standing outside with a placard around my neck with ‘Go away’ on it.

“We’ve had kitchen knives thrown into gardens. You can’t even sit in your own garden.

“I’ve got the bit between my teeth with this one.

“I’m not taking the complaints lightly.

“We have tried all the different pieces of legislation to get it closed. It’s just not good enough. I’ve had enough and it has to stop.”

Aylesbury Town Councillor Stuart Jarvis said there have been more than 100 incidents in the past decade.

He has even written to Prime Minister David Cameron to try to find a solution.

He said: “It’s a step too far now. There needs to be major improvements in the management or we need to shut it down. I feel so sorry for residents. It’s a very sad state of affairs.”

Director of Benjamin UK, Claudette Deysel, said: “They are teenagers and they present problems which teenagers present.

“Like any parents, we have to take responsibility for our children and we are on the case immediately if we have an issue.

“We do have systems to make sure they do not impact on the neighbourhood, but there is not a barrage of complaints and there are no ongoing issues.”