by Peter Stanford SIX MENTALLY and physically handicapped children have been denied the chance of moving into a specially adapted house under the supervision of trained staff because of a decision by the local Town Planning Committee at Bexley The e six children, aged betweem 7 and 16, are at Goidie Leigh Hospital in Greenwich. Bexley Health Authority purchased a large house in Parkhurst Road, Bexley, where they planned to move the children. Their decision follows Government policy in moving the mentally handicapped out of hospitals and into the community where experience has shown that they stand to benefit. The house was bought with the help of a special Government fund.
These plans are now at a standstill because the local Town Planning Committee has refused to allow the status of the house to be changed from residential to institutional. II quoted potential traffic and parking difficulties as the reason for its decision.
A petition of local residents opposing the home was collected, and individual letters of protest spoke of the threat to house prices that such a home
"oTuhldeseposeresidents' objections have been dismissed by Councillor Graham Holland of the Planning Committee. He reiterated the parking difficulties to the Herald, but added that he felt that the old, two-storey building was unsuitable.
Such objections have been dismissed by the Health Authority. A spokesman, Mr Jonathan Holland, said that with careful planning the potential parking problem was no greater than for an average large household. The building has been surveyed twice, and approved by the Regional Health Authority as suitable. He described the bungalow idea as idealistic. The Health Authority had no vacant site, and had to make the best of practical possibilities, he said. An appeal has been lodged with the Department of the Environment. Meanwhile, the children remain in hospital. The Health Authority also has responsibility for moving 104 mentally handicapped adults out of Downs Park Hospital into the community before that hospital closes in 1987.