A large house in a Herefordshire town centre is set to become a home for children in care.

The four-storey December House in Copse Cross Street, Ross-on-Wye, was previously used by the Supported Housing for Young People Project (SHYPP), having been given planning permission for use as a children’s home in 1996.

A new planning application (number 241509) by Kinsman Residential Homes explains that it needs permission from government inspector Ofsted to re-establish this use – “a thorough process which takes several months to complete”.


For this reason, Kinsman is seeking a formal certificate of lawful use for its plan, which is to accommodate up to six children aged between seven and 17 given round-the-clock support and supervision by two to three live-in staff.

According to the government’s Land Registry, the property was bought for £500,000 last July.

The particulars at the time said the nine furnished bedrooms and en-suite bathrooms had been refurbished, as had four kitchens dotted around the building. It is accessed from the street via a gated courtyard.

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Kinsman says it does not plan any internal or external alterations to the building.

Separately, it gained planning permission a year ago to operate Bronsil House on the Eastnor Estate near Ledbury also as a home for up to six children.

The company points out that Herefordshire has well above the average rate of children in care, which is anyway at record levels nationally.


The December House proposal would provide local specialist housing for children who have experienced neglect and abuse, who would “benefit more from a quiet and tranquil location”, Kinsman said.

“Unfortunately, the perception of a children’s home can occasionally be pre-determined and negative,” it added.

But it maintained that its plan “will not result in any detrimental impact on neighbours or local residents’ comfort and use of their own properties”.