THANK you for the considered Guardian Comment piece (October 19) relating to the issues surrounding the increasing number of children’s homes in residential areas.

You say there are two sides to this debate, but it is in fact multi-faceted. We would like to make Guardian readers aware of one element which is relevant to all local taxpayers and society in general.

Public sector funding is being used to fund private sector profiteering in a care setting where control over quality of care is limited at best.

In the case of the current application for a house in Walkers Lane on which a decision is awaited, the applicant (Elliot Investment Ltd) has no experience of running care homes.

The investor is working with Birchwood Children’s Services, which has no experience of managing emotional, behavioural and social disturbance (EBD) in a residential home. The home is intended for children with EBD.

There are 33 profit-making children’s homes in Warrington, owned and run in the private sector.

Only two children from Warrington are placed in these homes; the rest are children placed from other areas.

Warrington Borough Council (WBC) owns and runs three homes with 11 beds in total and 340 children in care. Of those, 39 are placed in private homes (which must mean 37 placed outside the area).

The out-of-area cost per child is £273,000 on average a year. For children placed in WBC’s own accommodation, the cost is £130,000 on average a year.

WBC currently spends circa £15million a year on out-of-area placements.

Is it any wonder that WBC is in the top 10 of local authorities likely to go bust?

It does not take a rocket scientist to work out that what is needed is a strategy for more WBC owned/run homes, ideally co-produced with local neighbourhoods to ensure that the needs of all stakeholders and members of the communities in which the homes are placed are considered.

WBC has almost no influence in how these homes are run (as it has no contracts with the owners unless Warrington children are placed there). This means the concerns of neighbouring residents are routinely ignored.

Some northern local authorities have woken up to this and are putting all such applications through the full planning process because they acknowledge the added strain on already stretched local public services; the disruption to local neighbourhoods; and that staff coming and going in the way that happens with these homes is a material change from normal residential usage.

But in Warrington in the last 12 months all six such applications were approved at officer level with none going through the more rigorous process for full planning approval.