HAVE YOUR SAY: Shops fear West Cumbrian drug clinic will damage trade
Last updated at 20:37, Thursday, 14 June 2012
A plan for a new alcohol and drug clinic in Workington town centre has been met by objections from some shop owners who feel it will drive away customers.
Planning permission is being sought for the clinic at the former Finkle Street premises of Clark’s Electrical shop, which has been empty for more than fours.
The clinic proposes to help around 500 people a year including families and carers, and will employ 10 full-time staff.
But Judith Marsh, owner of Treats tearoom on Finkle Street, who plans to object to Allerdale council, said: “I’m very much against it because I know that if our older customers see youngsters outside with drink and needles they will be put off coming down this way and our trade will suffer.
“I’m not against these people receiving help, but why does it have to be in the town centre?
“The town centre is for families and individuals to enjoy and they should not feel intimidated when out shopping.”
Richard James, owner of Richard James newsagents next to the proposed clinic, has written to the council to object.
He said: “There are plenty of places on the fringes of town like the job centre standing empty, so I don’t see why it has got to be in the town centre.”
Residents of Brow Top, behind the proposed clinic, have raised concerns.
Margaret Elliot, 83, said: “All we want is a bit of peace because we get a lot of other issues on here like rats and traffic.”
Her daughter, Valerie Stockdale, 61, said: “It would be a genuine worry on my mum’s behalf.”
The clinic would provide information and advice from support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
There would be a free needle exchange facility and access to services such as blood borne virus screening, testing and vaccination.
It will replace the current drug and alcohol facility in Peter Street, and staff will be transferred.
Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust has allocated a budget of £200,000 for the clinic, although the total cost has not been finalised.
The trust has won the tender to provide alcohol and drug prevention and rehabilitation services across Cumbria starting from July 1.
Proposed opening hours would be 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday, with the possibility of opening some evenings and weekends.
Last week the plans were welcomed by Dave Smith, founder of The Rising Sun Trust, a drug and alcohol charity based in Workington.
Gill Green, director of nursing and operations at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “While we understand local concern we would like to reassure residents that our organisation has a proven track record in helping people with substance misuse problems into a sustained recovery.
“We are working with local police to ensure safety remains our top priority.
“Our many years of delivering successful drug and alcohol treatment services across the North West equips us with the knowledge that opening new buildings does not exacerbate the situation. In fact, we see the opposite occurring.
“The new building will offer treatment and support which help Workington to tackle the problem of addiction.
“It will be a safe environment for service users to come to get help for addiction issues and get them to a point where they can get their lives back on track.”
An open evening will be held at the premises on Tuesday from 8pm.
First published at 19:24, Thursday, 14 June 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
Have your say
I agree with Rosemary. How closed minded can individuals be? How nice to compare human beings to rats and traffic? And, honestly, will you really be seeing people outside with "drink and needles"? I only wish this type of facility had been available to my brother so that perhaps his tragic death might have been avoided.
I think it's a great idea. Needs to be in town as a lot of the people it will help have easy access to town and wouldn't be able to use it if it was out of town.
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