Councillors approve plan for specialist autism facility in Ugley

PUBLISHED: 08:45 22 June 2018

Ground floor plans for the autism facility. Picture: ADP ARCHITECTURE

Ground floor plans for the autism facility. Picture: ADP ARCHITECTURE


A hybrid planning application for a new autism facility and three houses in Ugley has been approved by the district council’s planning committee.

At the planning meeting on June 6, the applicant, Viv Smith, the divisional director for HFT, a national charity providing services for people with learning disabilities, said: “The project will fill an identified gap following discussions with commissioners...and enable independent living within individual flats but still provide a level of care appropriate to the needs of the people the charity supports.”

She added that the “scheme has been designed to be sympathetic to its rural setting” and had a “sustainable design”.

The proposed facility will include eight one-bedroom apartments with their own private garden and secure lobbies from the flats will lead to a communal area.

According to the plans, the site will also incorporate a training unit, multi-purpose rooms, offices, welfare rooms, and a secure open garden which will be in the core of the building. The facility itself will be located in a single story building.

Viv said the design will “provide an enabling living environment with the necessary flexibility to support a wide range of autistic presentations, facilitating the learning of life skills”.

Explaining the planning application for three houses on the site, she said: “In order to make the scheme financially deliverable, private housing has been included to provide some form of cross-funding to the new residential autism facility.”

In response to a question from Councillor John Lodge, planning officer Nigel Brown said: “We are allowing three houses where we would not normally allow three houses...we are allowing exception housing specifically for the funding purposes and that’s why we want to make sure that the receipts from those houses contribute to that funding.”

Councillor Paul Fairhurst said: “I think the houses themselves are fine as they are and it’s a fairly good trade-off for the rather creative development on the other side.”

Chairman of the committee, Councillor Alan Mills, said the design of the facility was “superb”.

Councillor Janice Loughlin proposed approval and the planning committee voted unanimously in favour of the plans.

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