HOSTILITY to plans for an autistic people’s care home in Liden has led to the owners of the property searching for a better location.

Plans for a residential care home for six adults with autism in Okebourne Park were submitted last week, and residents gave a number of objections on the basis of the home being transformed into a business.

After attempting to open discussions with neighbours over the weekend, Autism Care Wiltshire Ltd will now sell the property and look for a different site.

Stuart Hook, of the autism firm, said the company did not want to introduce their service users into a negative environment.

“A leaflet has been circulated with numerous inaccuracies including the nature of care we provide. For the avoidance of doubt, Autism Care Wiltshire provides care for people with autism and learning disabilities and not people with mental health issues or substance abuse.

“Much has been made by objectors to the covenants in the deeds of the Okebourne Park properties and calls for enforcement action.

“The covenant most quoted is the one that says you should not operate a business from the premises.

“The primary purpose of the property would be as a residential home for the vulnerable adults who live there.

“This is supported by the planning category which specifically states that up to six people requiring care or support can live in a property together and it is a residential category property requiring only residential planning permissions.”

Mr Hook said therefore they did not believe use of the home for autistic adults breached the covenant and there were “at least 13 registered businesses at Okebourne Park addresses”.

“We strongly believe that people with autism have a right to live in the local community around their families in the same way as all other residents, without discrimination and with the same level of support from democratically elected members. It has been warming to receive high levels of support from Swindon residents for the care we provide in response to the local protests.”

Mr Hook said that in view of the protests and since the needs of the autistic adults came first, the firm would look elsewhere for accommodation.

Keith Stubbs, chairman of the newly formed Okebourne Park Action Committee, said discussions should have been made prior to the application being submitted, as residents had to rush to find out information.

“The single issue has been that this house, in this cul-de-sac, is not in the right location in terms of space and vehicle access,” he said.

“All these houses have covenants attached to them which excludes their use for business purposes.”

Dick Wilkinson, vice-chairman of the committee, said: “I would have asked for a public meeting before the application was put in so that everybody could be clear on the plans.

“There needs to be scrutiny of the way in which applications for domestic dwellings being turned into businesses can be slipped through without there being any capacity for people to do anything about it. The whole thing was a bit rushed.”