WEBHEATH residents have hit out at plans to build a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) unit at the back of their homes.
The planning application, if approved, would see the former Saltways Care Home on Church Road turned into a 24/7 CAMHS facility.
The applicant asks for a ‘three single-storey extension and security fence’ with ‘alterations for a proposed tier 4 CAMHS unit’.
CAMHS support covers young people suffering from depression, self-harm, abuse, violence, schizophrenia and anxiety.
Protester Peter Hill said: “We all support excellent facilities for vulnerable children and adolescents but cared for in a secure unit in hospital grounds, away from pensioner and family homes.
“Our gardens are our refuge. But, we are all faced with a prison-like security fence and admissions ward a few metres from our gardens.
“We should all feel safe in our homes, not constantly concerned about fear of crime and suicide attempts nearby.
“If adolescents go AWOL and enter our private gardens we would be faced with a youth dealing with drugs, suicide or worse.
“This plan is flawed and neglectful of the safety of local families and the retired population of Webheath.”
Robin Baker of Earls Close, who lives almost directly opposite the site, said: “There are a number of families with children and elderly people in close proximity to me.
“This is not a suitable place for this to be located right in the middle of a residential area.”
Redditch MP Rachel Maclean said she has been working with borough council leader Councillor Matt Dormer to escalate residents’ concerns.
“We have spoken to NHS England, who have commissioned this service, as well as the Health Secretary to ask him to work constructively with myself and Coun Dormer to address the concerns residents have,” she said.
If given the green light the facility will be run by Regis Healthcare, a company which three years ago hit the headlines over concern for the welfare of patients at a similar facility it runs in Ebbw Vale, South Wales.
A Health Inspectorate of Wales report then said they were ‘not assured’ that safe and effective care was being provided on the facility’s 12-bed Brenin ward, which catered patients aged 13 to 18.
However Regis Healthcare said at the time the report was ‘historical’ and not reflective of the current situation.
The planning application, 20/00178/FUL, which is available to view on the borough council’s planning website, goes before committee on April 14, which will be screened live.