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Mental health refuge to go ahead despite noise and parking fears

PUBLISHED: 13:47 03 June 2020 | UPDATED: 13:48 03 June 2020

The property on Bawburgh Lane which is to be turned into short-term supported residential accommodation for people with mental health issues. Picture: Google Street View

The property on Bawburgh Lane which is to be turned into short-term supported residential accommodation for people with mental health issues. Picture: Google Street View

Google Street View

A mental health refuge is to be set up in a residential area, despite neighbourhood fears over noise and parking problems.

Plans to set up Holly House, a short-stay mental health refuge on Bawburgh Lane, in Costessey, have taken a vital step forward, after councillors agreed to grant the project planning permission.

The application, put forward by the mental health charity Norfolk and Waveney Mind, was debated at a meeting of South Norfolk Council’s planning committee, held on Wednesday, June 3.

And the scheme, which was recommended for approval, was met with “significant opposition” from neighbours, who feared the site would act as a “small hotel” and cause on-street parking problems.

During the meeting, which was held remotely via Zoom, Julie Rackham, of Bawburgh Lane, told councillors she was speaking on behalf of a group of objectors.

“The front will look like a car park,” she said. “This is a quiet, dog-walking lane.

READ MORE: Mental health refuge set for approval, despite ‘significant’ opposition

“This is not an appropriate location - the neighbours will be extremely impacted. It will look like a small hotel.”

And she added: “The neighbours are scared because of the mental health issues.

“Mind provides a smoking area in the garden 24/7. There will be staff walking, and people talking, crying, swearing and shouting in the middle of the night.

“They are also going to do activities in the garden.

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“It will be a huge increase in noise and nuisance.”

READ MORE: ‘It will cause uncertainty and anxiety’ - Neighbours’ fears over plans to turn house into short-term mental health support base

But Cheryl O’Sullivan, head of services for crisis interventions at the charity, said: “We are a local charity that has been supporting people who experience mental health crises for over 50 years.

“It will be for people who are ready to look at their recovery.

“They will be lower level and everyone will be assessed properly.

“Mind have years of experience managing services like this. We have one in Norwich which has run for more than 18 years and this is also in a residential area.”

Terry Laidlaw, ward member for Old Costessey, said “significant local opposition hadn’t been adequately dealt with”.

He added: “I believe my support should go to the neighbourhood.”

But Vic Thomson, planning committee chairman, said due to the current pandemic, support facilities were more important than ever, and added: “I think with support locally this will work.”

The committee voted three to two in favour of the proposals.

READ MORE: Mental health refuge set for approval, despite ‘significant’ opposition


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