A former children’s home in Totland Bay — which has been shut for over a year after a ‘series of problems’ — could be restored to a family home.

Leeward House, behind The Broadway, has been empty since June 2021, when the company running the site, Leeward Care, went into liquidation.

Now, Guy Ahston who owns the buildings, and used to run the care home, is looking to convert it back into a private dwelling, while changing the separate Leeward Lodge into a bungalow.

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Mr and Mrs Ashton previously lived in the building before it was transformed into a children’s home, planning agents Andrew White Planning Consultancy said, and now wish to move back into their family home.

In a confidential document submitted to the planners, all the reasons and complications the business failed and ultimately went into liquidation are laid out. While the document is not available to the public, the planning agents explain in other statements, it was down to a combination of reasons including the limited capacity of the home and the high number of specially trained staff required to be present.

They say there is no alternative community use, and no prospect of any reinstatement of a children’s care home in the future. They also say the current applicants injected their savings into the business.

An Isle of Wight Council policy however looks to retain existing social and community infrastructure, particularly with a provision shortage indicated by children services.

The agents argue that potential need does not translate into sufficient financial support for the privately run business or the ability of the operators to engage appropriate staff. They go on to say with the council failing to meet its housing targets, there is a stong case to return the building to its previous family-home use.

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You can view the plans, 22/001804/FUL, on the council’s planning register. Comments can be submitted until 22nd July.

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