Mental health refuge set for approval, despite ‘significant’ opposition
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Plans to create a mental health refuge in a quiet street are set for approval by the council, despite neighbours’ fears it could create “uncertainty and anxiety”.
An application for a change of use of a four-bedroom detached house in Costessey was made to South Norfolk Council earlier this year.
And the scheme, proposed by the mental health charity Norfolk and Waveney MIND, would see the Bawburgh Lane house converted into short-stay accommodation for people struggling with mental ill-health due to life circumstances.
Councillors are set to discuss the proposals at a planning meeting held next week - and the scheme has been recommended for approval, subject to conditions.
A report on the plans describes the facility as offering “short-term supported residential care” for no more than four people at any time, for a period of up to five days.
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It states: “The intention is to provide support and intervention to individuals who have gone into mental health crisis or are struggling to manage their emotions due to life events.
“Such life events could include loss of employment, financial difficulties, breakdown of a relationship, bereavement, post-partum depression or a dip in mental health due to loneliness and isolation.”
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Support on offer at Holly Tree House could include “housing advice, benefit and debt advice, supporting someone to attend appointments, access the local community and attend groups”.
Anyone who stays at the facility will have been assessed as suitable by a mental health team.
A minimum of two staff will always be on the site, with shifts around the clock.
The district councillor for Old Costessey, Terry Laidlaw, said he had a “completely open mind” on the matter, but had been “directly lobbied by a number of residents of adjacent houses” due to “significant local opposition”.
One neighbour wrote on the council’s website: “It will cause uncertainty and anxiety.”
But Norfolk and Waveney clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) supported the proposals.
A spokesperson said: “The proposed support house is based on national best practice.
“MIND has also made extensive efforts to meet local people to explain and reassure them.
“We expect the house to be a quiet and relaxing place for both residents and neighbours.”
Councillors will discuss the proposals on Wednesday, June 3.