Morecambe rehab centre hits planning permission setback

The former Tregothnan Residential Care Home in Balmoral Road.
The former Tregothnan Residential Care Home in Balmoral Road.

Plans for a new rehab centre in Morecambe could have hit a delay after it was revealed the centre does not have the correct planning permission.

Oasis Recovery Communities have taken over the former Tregothnan residential care home in Balmoral Road, aiming to open plan to open a unit catering for ‘trauma, depression and chemical dependency’.

Oasis say they were told by their landlord that they had the necessary permission, but Lancaster City Council say the centre needs specific conditions to open for rehabilitation purposes.

A city council spokesman said: “According to our records, 112 Balmoral Road was granted planning permission to change its use from a hotel to a home for the elderly in February 1987 (86/01048/HST).

“There are conditions on the consent that restricts the premises to a maximum of 15 residents, and its use as a home for the elderly and for no other purpose within the same use class.

“Oasis has been advised that it would need to apply to remove the relevant restrictive condition(s) on the 1987 consent, and only be able to take occupation of the building for their intended purposes if consent was granted.

“Any proposal to change of use of the premises from a care home for the elderly would require the benefit of planning permission.

“Therefore anyone proposing an alternative use would be required to submit an application to the Local Planning Authority for its consideration, and would only be authorised to take occupation of the premises for their intended purpose if consent was granted.”

A spokesperson for Oasis Recovery Communities said: “Our landlord has assured us, as tenants, that the building has the necessary C2 planning for residential care in that building.

“Our landlord is currently in discussion with the council on this matter.

“We have listened to people’s concerns about possible negative effects to them of a rehabilitation centre opening in Morecambe, and we have been overwhelmed by the support of people saying it can only help.

“This is a rehabilitation centre, and will be a drug and alcohol free building. Our service users do need privacy in order to focus on their recovery.”

Oasis Recovery Communities Limited (Morecambe) will only accept service users who are aged 18 years or over, and free from alcohol and illegal drugs.

This is evidenced by screening on arrival as this is an abstinence-based service.

Meanwhile, a resident who attended an open day aimed at informing people about the new centre claimed ‘it was all psychobabble’.

Phil Brooks, of nearby Osborne Road, said: “I wasn’t impressed with it.

“It’s all psychobabble. Oasis said: ‘We are confident we’ll be up and running in next to no time.’

“They are pushing it forward but my own opinion is they need some sort of formal planning decision.

“They were quick to give an answer to any questions residents had, then it was onto the next question. The local residents including the elderly, schools and neighbours are being totally overlooked.

“There are still concerns from residents but they are trying to keep them low key.”

Coun Margaret Pattison said: “We have asked for a monthly meeting between Oasis and the residents to raise any concerns.”