Hackney Borough Council is spending an astonishing £1.2 million on a beautiful 19th century country mansion, in order to send feuding families on extended breaks to help their relationship.
The council, which is facing a £36m reduction in Government funding, are planning to send troubled families to the two-acre resort for up to six-weeks. An offer on the site, known as the Silver Trees estate, came following a £2m government grant to the council to help these types of families spend, ‘structured’ periods away from their normal home.
Needless to say, the move has not gone down well with local residents, with one describing the move as a, ‘wind up.’ Others are very concerned about anti-social behavior. One resident, Helen Straw, said that, ‘the families sent there might be considered problematic or troubled. I personally walk my dog in the wood opposite most days alone and my enjoyment of our rural area would be affected if my personal feeling of safety was compromised.’
Another resident Matthew Batstone, commented that the move was a, ‘profligate use of public money in what is supposed to be a time of austerity. This proposal is extravagant and it ignores the enormous and urgent need for family housing in Oxfordshire.’
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The council however seem undeterred by the claims, saying that families likely to be sent to the retreat are parents who need to learn how to manage their children. A spokeswoman for Hackney council said that they had, ‘recently received funding from the DfE Innovation Fund to run a programme to help children and families who would benefit from some structured time away from home. It is a voluntary programme, with parents and where appropriate, foster carers joining the children and taking part in a programme of learning and support.’
She continued by saying that Hackney Council, ‘think this location is ideal as it will give the families involved the opportunity to spend time together away from their homes in a tranquil location with plenty of space that is still a commutable distance from London.’
Currently in its consultation period, the application will be decided upon on July 2nd.