A thatched cottage in Andover could become a supported living institution under plans submitted to Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC).

James and Maddison Taylor have applied to convert Creepers Cottage on Mead Hedges into accommodation for up to six residents with learning disabilities. Maddison, who has a history of care work, said she “felt an urge to do more to support individuals and families in finding reliable and trustworthy accommodation and carers.”

The move has split neighbours, with some in favour, while others have raised concerns the accommodation would have on the area.

Maddison says she has “always wanted to help and support families”, and has worked as a carer at Ashbourne Court care home, as well as a support worker for Andover Mencap and teaching assistant at Osbourne SEN secondary school.

She and her father James established Maddison's Care CIC in December, with Maddison controlling the company. It is a community interest company, which is a form of non-profit organisation. She said that the impact of coronavirus on support for those with learning difficulties had driven him to setting up this business.

Plans to convert Creepers Cottage were submitted in February, which propose changing the use from a residence into a residential institution. No internal or external changes will be made to the property. Eight bedrooms are located on site, with six to serve residents. If approved, the home will have a maximum of three members of staff during the day, and two overnight.

The plans were presented to a meeting of Andover Town Council’s Planning Committee on March 8, where no objections were raised. Councillor Luigi Gregori was in support of the plans, saying that Andover was “short of that type of accommodation.”

However, the council did query where residents will be eating, as they could not locate a dining room on the plans.

The Taylors have explained their plans to nearby residents, with Rupert Griffiths, one of their neighbours, in favour of the plans.

He told the Advertiser: “It’s a nice idea. Our neighbours talked to us about the application and me and my wife fully support it.”

However, residents on the adjacent road, Clarendon Avenue, have raised concerns about the plans.

Four residents have collectively submitted a list of issues with the proposals, which they say will impact on rights of way in the area. According to Hampshire County Council’s definitive right of way map, Mead Hedges is classed as a footpath, but with permission for vehicle use.

They said: “The Creepers Cottages application would further increase an already unacceptable level of infringement, due to the type of multi occupancies and associated 24/7 care requirements and increased accompanying logistics/vehicle activity, with a very limited parking capacity.”

They also said vehicles to Mead Hedges had been damaging property and “obstructing” Clarendon Avenue.

However, the highways authority, Hampshire Highways, said the proposals “can be managed on-site without undue harm to highway safety and efficiency.”

They said: “Given the information provided in regard to shift patterns and staff levels the parking arrangements are likely to be able to be managed sufficiently.

“For any sporadic additional parking requirements it is considered that there is sufficient spare on-street capacity within a reasonable distance from the site for any modest number of visitor trips likely to be attracted.”

Should the plans be approved, Maddison says that she wishes to grow this business to support more people with learning disabilities in future.

The plans are currently being consulted on by TVBC, and a decision will be made in due course. If you would like to have your say on the proposals, you should search application 21/00324/FULLN in TVBC’s planning portal.