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Planning laws to protect children

Planning laws to protect children

Planning laws should be altered to prevent children’s homes being built in dangerous places such as red light districts, according to an MP.

Labour’s Ann Coffey welcomed Ofsted inspections requiring homes to be located in secure areas and new Government plans that force those that want to open homes to undertake risk assessments with police and local authorities. But the Stockport MP added that planning laws needed to be changed. She said changing this would be “the final piece of the jigsaw” as regards tackling the abuse of vulnerable looked-after children. Ms Coffey highlighted a recent case in Birmingham where the council is considering opening a home in a red light district where there has been a background of girls being groomed for prostitution.

The MP told the Commons that a “significant minority” of vulnerable young people living in children’s homes are being targeted for exploitation. She said that recent prominent court cases, including one in Oxford, highlighted this. Ms Coffey added: “I want to focus on planning legislation which I consider to be the final piece of the jigsaw in relation to children’s homes and tackling child sexual exploitation.”

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