Expansion of Stevenage psychiatric hospital given green light

Planning permission has been granted for the expansion of a psychiatric hospital in Stevenage.

PLANNING permission for a 68-bed expansion to a low/medium secure psychiatric hospital has been granted despite objections from a parish council.

Stevenage Borough Council (SBC) has approved the application for an independent hospital on the Cygnet Hospital site on Graveley Road in Stevenage.

It is a revision of an application for a 60-bed expansion approved by the council in January last year, and will provide low secure rehabilitation, a step down unit where adults will prepare for re-introduction into society, and a unit to cater for adults with learning disabilities and Asperger’s syndrome.

Graveley Parish Council lodged concerns about the expansion with SBC, including issues with security, increased traffic, an increased burden on the fire service, and concern for the welfare of residents in the area if a patient absconds.

All patients admitted to Cygnet in Stevenage have been sectioned under the Mental Health Act. Patients include prisoners, and last year the hospital prepared to admit its first patient from a high secure unit.

When the original planning application for the expansion was made, Herts Police said that since the hospital opened in May 2006 “there have been many incidents that have been a major drain on police resources.”

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Planning permission has been granted subject to a financial contribution being made towards additional policing resources required in respect of the proposed development.