Hitchin mental health clinic recommended for approval

The Carling Building, where the proposed facility will be

The Carling Building, where the proposed facility will be - Credit: Archant

A PROPOSED mental health clinic which has divided public opinion could be granted permission tonight (Thursday).

Plans were submitted for the clinic in the Carling Building, Coopers Yard, Hitchin, by Herts Partnership NHS Foundation last month.

The application to North Herts District Council (NHDC) has divided public opinion, with 87 people officially registering their opposition to the authority and 118 signing a petition in its favour.

Councillors sitting on the planning control committee have been recommended by officers to approve the clinic, and will make a decision tonight.

A report released by NHDC last week says: “It is considered that the proposed use, which the applicants advise will operate in the same way as a GP clinic, operating through the working day and limited to Saturday mornings, is unlikely to result in conditions which will detract from residential amenity.

“The proposed use of the ground floor of the Carling Building and its extension is considered acceptable in land use terms and it is considered that there would be no harmful impact on existing residential amenity or adverse impact in terms of highway and pedestrian safety.”

The report goes on to say the clinic would offer a number of advantages to the town, including a fit for purpose and accessible facility and the re-use of a vacant building.

Most Read

Residents in its favour welcome the prospect, and claim it would increase local health provision and help change the negative perception and stigma that people using the service are dangerous.

But those who oppose it have said they have concerns over safety and there is no adequate access.

They are also worried drugs will be left on the premises, and believe it will be detrimental to the area.

The county council has said it supports the facility, Herts Highways has stated it “does not wish to restrict the grant of permission”, and Herts Police says it has minor concerns, but would not oppose the application.

• The meeting starts at 7.30pm. Follow @laura_burge for live updates.