Put a NO STEP decal on the strainers. I once had an army officer try and use mine as a step and it broke. Was able to fly it home and the repair was no big deal.
I say do it per plans. Like Jay mentioned, I think the reason they are close to the fuselage is to better exert torque to the elevator and torque tubes. Did you know there was a Q-200 fatality due to failure of the mid-elevator support. Yes, the builder did a poor job of executing that part of the construction process, but I could see a sparrow strainer adding more stress and wear to the mid-span pivot.
And yes, it is good practice to make it adjustable during flight testing. I think the sparrow strainer design, as provided in the QAC Q-200 plans, has way too much angle of attack.