A VACANT property on the edge of a Somerset beauty spot could soon be turned into a children’s home through a £300,000 council investment.

The property in question lies on a quiet Chard street, a short distance from the town’s household waste recycling centre and the Chard Reservoir local nature reserve.

Somerset Council has now announced that the property may be turned into a children’s home with staff living on site – with around £300,000 being invested in bringing the building back into use and up to standard.

Brief details of the proposal were published on BidStats, a tendering website used by local authorities to secure contracts for local services and significant infrastructure projects.

A spokesman said: “Somerset Council is currently engaged with significant investment in creating residential children’s homes.

“It is currently a four-bedroomed property which the council wishes to convert into a two-bedroom children’s home, with  staff sleeping accommodation).

“The property is currently vacant. Internal re-configuration (primarily to the first floor) and significant refurbishment and upgrade of the existing accommodation is required.”

Somerset County Council announced in June 2021 that it would be delivering ten new children’s homes across Somerset by 2026 as part of a new partnership with Homes2Inspire (part of the Shaw Trust), designed to allow vulnerable children to receive care and support closer to their families.

Homes2Inspire will run the homes under a £70m contract over a ten-year period, with the council committing £3m from its own capital programme to secure and deliver these properties on top of just over £1m from the Department for Education (DfE).

The partnership also includes the delivery of two specialist schools for “therapeutic education” – one on the former primary school site in Misterton near Crewkerne, and one near Wellington Sports Centre.

Somerset Council – which took over the provision of children’s services in April – has not confirmed whether the Chard site forms part of this official partnership.

Companies have until December 10 to apply for the £300,000 tender, with a contract for the project expected to be awarded in the new year.