Complaints over noise at Baldock mental health unit

Baldock Manor

Baldock Manor - Credit: Archant

ENVIRONMENTAL health officers have called for a meeting with officials of a mental health unit after receiving a number of noise complaints from residents living nearby.

Officers from North Herts District Council (NHDC) will meet the director of Nouvita – the company that manages Baldock Manor on London Road in Baldock -– to speak with staff after receiving 12 noise complaints since July 11.

This comes after police were called to the facility last month, after reports that a patient had managed to climb on top of the roof.

The fire service was also called to help bring the patient down, but they were not needed and the man was later helped down by staff members from the facility.

Residents living in nearby Hillcrest have now been given a log book to record any disturbance.

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One Hillcrest resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I know that checks are being made. We have heard glass being smashed in all hours of the morning, kicking of doors.

“There are a lot of people who are elderly and live on their own, who get very frightened. I have no faith that the council will do anything about this.”

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Another resident, Mick Balls, said: “It is an elephant in the room. I feel guilty to have to report the noise because I know they are helping people in there, but it’s not fair on the people who are living outside who have to put up with the constant disturbance.”

In March, residents living in Hillcrest called for action when they discovered what they thought was a residential care home for the elderly was actually a secure unit for people with mental health and substance misuse issues.

The facility was only brought to the attention of the residents after a three-metre high fence was erected around the unit after some patients – some of who are detained under the Mental Health Act – had tried to escape.

It also emerged the owners of the facility did not gain planning consent from NHDC to erect the fence. And in May, a retrospective planning application for the three-metre high fence was thrown out by members of the council’s planning control committee.

The decision means that Nouvita will have to reduce the fence to two metres high by November.

Clinical director for Nouvita, Jenny Sayer, said: “The staff at Baldock Manor are committed to understanding the needs of the neighbours and are working towards meeting their requirements.”

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