PEOPLE power won the day after health bosses scrapped controversial plans to site a drug centre near their homes.
More than 2,000 residents had signed a petition against NHS East Lancashire’s plans for a drugs and alcohol rehabilitation centre at Peel House, the former GP surgery in Avenue Parade, Accrington.
And they breathed a collective sigh of relief when the plans were overturned at a board meeting last Thursday.
Hyndburn Council had dramatically withdrawn its support for the centre at the 11th hour on the grounds that it was being put in the wrong place.
Speaking at last week's Cabinet meeting, council leader Peter Britcliffe said: "I think this drug centre is needed in Hyndburn but I think putting it in the back yard of our residents is wrong.
"When I was thinking about this issue my decision came down to whether I would want to live with it on my doorstep and my honest answer would be no.
"It should be put inside one of our new medical centres which are far enough away from residential homes not to be a problem."
The Cabinet meeting was taking place at the same time as a meeting of the NHS board.
Residents gathered outside its headquarters in Nelson carrying placards bearing the slogan Right idea – wrong place.
Trust chief executive David Peat and Primary Care Trust chairman Kathy Reade later came outside to talk to residents and told them the board had made a unanimous decision to overturn its earlier decision to place the drugs centre in Peel House.
They said that the search for a new site would now begin.
Councillor Paul Barton, who represents Barnfield ward in which Peel House stands, said: "This is a victory for the residents. We are not against the drug centre itself, just its position next to houses."
Labour leader Councillor Graham Jones, who had campaigned against the plan, said: "The centre was going ahead but after talking to residents the PCT has changed its position.
"It takes very brave people to change their minds and I think that shows great leadership on Mr Peat’s behalf."
Mr Peat said: "The board has listened to the residents and taken on board the views of Hyndburn Council and MP Greg Pope.
"The onus is now on Hyndburn Council to help find an alternative place for this facility, which everyone agrees is much-needed in Hynd-burn."