Campaigners launch petition in favour of Hitchin mental health clinic

A petition has been launched asking NHDC to grant permission for the facility at Carling Building in

A petition has been launched asking NHDC to grant permission for the facility at Carling Building in Coopers Yard [pictured] - Credit: Archant

CAMPAIGNERS have hit back at residents who oppose a mental health clinic near their homes, by launching a petition calling for a council to grant permission for the facility.

Monique Blackham, pictured with the petition on her phone, helped set up a petition calling for NHDC

Monique Blackham, pictured with the petition on her phone, helped set up a petition calling for NHDC to grant permission for a mental health facility in Hitchin - Credit: Archant

The Comet reported earlier this month how residents in Coopers Yard, Hitchin, were opposing the proposed clinic beneath their flats in the Carling Building.

Currently, 66 have formally registered their opposition against the planning application by the Herts Foundation NHS Trust to North Herts District Council.

But a petition has been launched in the wake of their comments, calling for the council to grant permission instead.

Those who have signed it say they want to increase services in the area to support people with mental health issues and to change the negative perception and stigma that people using the service are dangerous.


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Monique Blackham, who helped come up with the petition idea after coming across the original Comet article on Facebook, said: “I have quite a lot of experience with working with people with mental health issues, as well as from a personal point of view.

“I think people are being quite narrow minded about the clinic. We are trying to break that stereotype and get people on side.

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“You never know when you or someone close might need to use a facility like that.”

The petition will be presented to North Herts District Council once it reaches 100 signatures.

At the time of going to press, the petition, published online at change.org, had amassed around 70 signatures.

Many of those who had signed also left comments.

Carina Bobeckyj, from Royston, said: “Everyone at some point will know someone affected by mental health issues. Awareness needs to be raised.”

And Matthew Kirby, from Hitchin, added: “I’ve had depression as long as I can remember and I’ve needed all the help I can get.

“More help for more people is never ever a bad thing.”

North Herts District Council said this week the item had been called in.

It is likely to be heard, and decided, by planning control committee on April 18.

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