Row has broken out over care home bid

This Is Wiltshire: Coun Derique Montaut, right, with protesters Coun Derique Montaut, right, with protesters

A DISPUTE has erupted over a proposed care home for autistic adults in a residential area of Liden with residents reacting strongly to the plans.

No 5 Okebourne Park is owned by Autism Care Wiltshire Ltd, and is subject to a planning application to extend and develop it.

Residents fear the home is being converted into a business, while Autism Care have said it is simply a residential home to support six people with autism.

A public meeting is being held on Wednesday to discuss the plans, chaired by the current owner of the property.

Coun Derique Montaut, (Lab, Liden and Eldene), said: “What they are worried about is that this property will not be inkeeping with the rest of the estate. As a result of this development there would be an increase in population and traffic in the area, and traffic flow to the property would not have adequate access.”

Richard Wilkinson, of Okebourne Park, has objected to the application.

“Works have taken place, not in accordance with the plans, trees have been cut down and the garage bricked up,” he said.

“Regarding the proposed plans they are not in keeping with the area and appear to be making the property ready for a business. The parking at the end of this cul de sac would become a nightmare.

“Notwithstanding the intended use of the building, the change of use of the garage, the felling of the trees and the commencement of building works prior to approval warrant rejection of this application.

“With the rest of our neighbours we will be signing and forwarding a petition objecting to the application.”

Stuart Hook, of Autism Care Ltd, said there had been an element of misinformation and that he hoped the home would be able to blend into the existing community.

“There is a strong push for Swindon residents who are autistic being able to remain in the community,” he said.

“These are people who need support and care in their lives, but also need to have an awareness of their community. This is not a house of multiple occupation, it is a residential property. Based on our other care home we have a couple of members of staff driving to work each day, and they do not park by the home.

“The residents themselves do not drive so that will not be an issue.

“I appreciate without the correct information there can be some confusion, and I am happy and wiling to sit down with our immediate neighbours.

“We took down some fir trees because the back of the building looks onto a main road and was completely unsecured. We have replaced the old fence, as any owner of a property would do.

“What we want to do is live in harmony with our neighbours so I have offered a round table meeting to explain our plans to them properly.”

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