A FORMER children’s home in Old Basing is set to be sold to raise money to build four new homes.

Plans have been approved by Hampshire County Council to sell Crossways, in Milkingpen Lane along with two other homes, in New Milton and Hayling Island, which are both being used as children’s homes.

The sale is hoped to generate an estimated £2.6million, which will be used to create four new homes in Dibden Purlieu, Havant, Fareham and Andover, as part of the council’s plans to transform children’s homes in the county.

Two other homes in Winchester and Chandler’s Ford will be demolished and rebuilt on the same sites, as four-bed homes.

Both The Mead, in Odiham, and Cypress Lodge, in Winchester Road, Basingstoke, will be retained as they are.

Councillor Keith Mans, executive lead member for children’s services, approved the plans on Tuesday at a decision day meeting.

The new houses will bring the council’s children’s homes up to eight, to accommodate 33 of the 1,130 children in the council’s care.

Each house will be home to four children and include accommodation for the staff looking after them.

Cypress Lodge, which has four bedrooms, was said in a report prepared for Cllr Mans, to demonstrate “the significantly better outcomes achieved by children in a four-bedded environment.”

The aim is to set up a standard of care on a par with that experienced in a family home.

The homes being sold or demolished are considered either too large or lacking the right sort of homely environment for children, and some are isolated from local services and amenities.

In drawing up the proposals, extensive consultation was undertaken involving both staff and children, and designs of the new homes will take into account features the children identified as being important, such as having a front door, garden and fireplace.

Councillor Mans said: “Children in care are among the most vulnerable in any community and we regard their care as one of our most important responsibilities. The physical environment in which a child lives has a direct influence on their self-esteem and confidence.”

He added: “It will be important to ensure that the homes will be comfortable places to live and that the children will feel safe, secure and happy.”