Neighbours protest against new house for autistic students

Thornbeck College, Thornhill Park,  North East Autism Society.
Thornbeck College, Thornhill Park, North East Autism Society.
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PLANS to create a residential home for people with autism are set to get the go-ahead.

The North East Autism Society wants to change Thornbeck College, in Sunderland, from a non- residential training centre into a house for six adults. The house will also be manned by six staff.

Located in the Ashbrooke Conservation Area, the Thornhill Park building will provide accommodation over four floors.

The planning application, which will be discussed by members of the development control sub-committee next week, states no external alterations will need to be made.

A report to the committee says: “Internally there are to be staff facilities in the basement level along with a communal room, dining area and kitchen.

“The ground floor is to accommodate two bedrooms with ensuite facilities, while a shared sitting room, laundry and office are also on this level. The first floor is again to accommodate two bedrooms with a shared sitting room, kitchen and bathroom.”

The second floor will have two self-contained flats, and the flexible layout is designed to give residents who have difficulty with sensory processing, finding eating in the dining room difficult, to be able to eat their meals away for others and reduce their anxiety.

Two letters of objection have been submitted by Thornholme Residents’ Association, raising concerns over disturbance and parking.

The report said: “It is claimed that the parking demand will exceed the availability on site, while it is stated that there are five minibuses parked at the site overnight.

“Furthermore the need for the accommodation is questioned, with the objector stating that there are eight other properties in use, in the vicinity, for purposes similar to that proposed.”

There has also been an 18-name petition from residents in support of the application.

The issue will be discussed at a meeting next Tuesday, with officers set to recommend the plans be approved.

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