Friday, 20 July 2018

Neighbours defeated over autism charity day centre

A NEW day centre for young adults with autism and learning difficulties is to open in Shirburn despite objections by

A NEW day centre for young adults with autism and learning difficulties is to open in Shirburn despite objections by residents.

Plans by charity My World to convert a house in Blenheim Road have been approved by South Oxfordshire District Council.

Neighbours were concerned about an increase in the levels of traffic and parking problems, saying the road was narrow and the junction with the B4009 was already dangerous.

They pointed out that there were no pavements and no street lighting and said the scheme would be “over-intensification of the use of the property”.

But My World director Claire Evans said the centre would not cause any problems.

The charity currently runs a non-residential centre at Thomley Cottage in Worminghall, near Thame, but had to find a new base.

Mrs Evans said: “Due to the owners’ changing circumstance, we have to move. We have been operating from here for the past three-and-a-half years with no complaints or issues. The intention is to replicate the success of Thomley Cottage at 10 Blenheim Road.”

“In essence we provide a supported environment for teenagers and young adults on weekdays during normal working hours. We do not operate over the weekend or on bank holidays.

“All the people we support have a diagnosis of autism or Asperger syndrome which cannot be accommodated in alternative environments.

“At Blenheim Road we intend to provide facilities for daily living skills, relaxation and recreation, socialising and communication skills, gardening, music, yoga, arts and crafts, an outdoor space and therapy sessions such as speech and language therapy.”

The charity says that on a typical day the youngsters will arrive for 9am. Most will be dropped off by parents or via My World transport and occasionally a small minibus may attend.

They will stay typically for the day which will end with their collection between 3.30pm and 4pm so that the centre can close by 5pm. The last member of staff will usually leave by 5pm, allowing time for tidying up and preparation for the following day.

Parking facilities and a turning circle will be provided within the grounds of the property. Mrs Evans said the centre will operate with minimal impact on neighbouring properties as the aim is to teach the youngsters the sort of everyday activities that take place in a typical household.

“The use of land and garden will be similar to a residential dwelling,” she said.

“No alterations are planned for the exterior of the building and no further impact to other residences is anticipated.”

The district council said the scheme would not be harmful to the character and appearance of the site or the surrounding area, the amenities of the neighbours or the local road network.

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