West End residents fear new rehab unit will ‘attract wrong people’

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

Residents in the West End have raised concerns about plans to open a residential rehabilitation centre on their doorstep.

Leaflets were posted through the doors of houses in Balmoral Road last week saying Oasis Recovery Communities plan to open a unit catering for “trauma, depression and chemical dependency” in the former Tregothnan residential care home.

The unit is replacing a centre currently based in Quernmore Road, Lancaster,

The property is close to two primary schools – West End and Sandylands – and Balmoral Children’s Centre as well as Heysham High School.

Mum Samantha Powling, who lives close to the site, said: “We have young children and there are a lot of elderly people around here too. This would be moving vulnerable people into an area that’s not the right fit for them.”

Phil Broooks, who lives in nearby Osborne Road, said: “They just drop these things in without giving a damn.

“It will attract the wrong people into this part of town.

“The West End has got a bad name as it is.

“If you get a concentration of people like that then it’s the decent residents who suffer.

“It only takes a small minority and all the good that’s been achieved goes down the drain. They are pumping money into the area and this is like a stab in the back.”

Ward councillor Janice Hanson said the city council had not been informed of the plans.

She said: “It’s not something we want in the West End. It’s against the masterplan and everything we have been trying to do in the area.

“Residents have concerns because it is near schools and a nursery and right in the middle of a residential area. It’s not good news for the West End.”

A city council spokesman said the property was originally granted planning permission to change its use from a hotel to a home for the elderly in February 1987.

The spokesman said: “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.

“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 spokesman for Oasis Recovery Communities said: “Oasis Recovery Communities provide expertise in the field of residential rehabilitation, with inpatient detoxification, and residential rehabilitation services across the north of England.

“Our Morecambe centre will be drug and alcohol free as people will only be placed here when they have completed detoxification and are stable.

“Although Oasis Recovery Communities is newly registered with the Care Quality Commission, we are not new to the field of substance misuse treatment.

“All of our staff are qualified and experienced and have worked together in the former Inward House Projects and TTP Communities Projects (North).

“We will be holding an open day at the new centre on October 29 at 2pm, where we will be happy to meet local residents and explain what we do.

“We will also be giving information on the ‘Morecambe Welfare Fund’ where we will be offering free treatment to those from Morecambe who are experiencing difficulty finding statutory funding, which could be worth up to £250,000 to local residents over five years.”