A CHARITY chief has hit back after moves to scrap plans for an autistic home in a leafy Hampshire village.

Andrew Monaghan, of the Hampshire Autistic Society was amazed at the opposition to the plans because they didn’t believe Chilworth was the right location for young autism sufferers.

At a meeting of Test Valley Borough Council residents and councillors argued that these young adults would not fit into their community.

Cambian Properties 11 Ltd submitted plans to convert The Squirrels, in Manor Road, into an educational centre, housing eight 16-25-year-olds who suffer from autism.

Next-door neighbour to the site , Barbara Chivers, said: “I don’t think they will get the integration they need in Chilworth. We’ve go no shops or other facilities and only one bus a day.”

Councillor Nigel Anderdon, supported her view, saying that he didn’t believe the Squirrels should be used to house young autistic people.

He said: “I think they might get bored in the daytime and want to get out at night.”

Chilworth Parish Council also objected but but due to concerns of on increased traffic.

But theses these fears were quashed by highway officer David Wilson who explained the development would only bring an extra 20 car trips a day to the area.

Romsey councillor Mark Cooper said: “This is deeply embarrassing with councillors trying to find reasons for objecting.”

Despite opposition councillors voted in a majority to give the plans the green-light.

Tony Ward, councillor for Kings Somborne and Michelmersh and Timsbury, said: “I cannot think of a more perfect change of use than this one.”

Mr Monaghan, chief executive of the HAS insisted people with autism had a right to be part of any community.

He said: “The Hampshire Autistic Society supports a number of individuals with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) in 15 community projects across the county.

“Without exception the individuals have both grown as individuals but also have made a positive contribution to their local community.

“We would strongly advocate the positive integration of people with ASD into their communities from the individuals perspective but also the benefit of the local community.”