A DRUG and alcohol rehab centre in Accrington could face a backlash from residents, health bosses have been warned.
East Lancashire Primary Care Trust (PCT) wants to site a substance misuse recovery centre treating up to 250 clients at the former Peel House Medical Centre in Avenue Parade.
PCT bosses outlined proposals for the £500,000 redevelopment at a meeting of Peel and Barnfield Area Council.
They heralded the “fourth major health development” in Accrington in the last two years, claiming it would have a positive impact on the town, making it much easier for people to begin the process of becoming drug-free.
Based on the existing Burnley House model, it would be run as a day centre from 9am to 6pm and would also provide other health services such as sexual health care, vaccinations and check-ups.
Drinking and drug-taking would not be permitted on the premises and no drugs would be kept there.
Area councillors applauded the scheme but both they and members of the public raised serious concerns about its location in a residential area.
Councillor Graham Jones questioned the impact it would have on the regeneration of the surrounding Elevate housing area.
He said: “We have got to get people off drugs and alcohol.
“But the facility you’re bringing in will not help the housing market.
“People in the surrounding area will be sceptical and if they start to sell up and move we will get a huge negative impact. Potentially this could pour petrol on the situation.”
Councillor Paul Barton said: “We had a look around Burnley House and it is a nice building and well managed. But it is not in the middle of a residential area, which this one is.”
One resident said: “We have one of the highest crime rates in Hyndburn in the Peel area. A lot of neighbours drink in the afternoons and we see drug users round here. A centre like this will create more problems for us.”
Others complained about potential parking and traffic chaos, although it was pointed out that at its peak the former GP surgery had 10,000 registered pati-ents.
Project manager John Robin-son said: “The benefits of developing a resource centre will actually help to reduce the impact that drug and alcohol use have in the community rather than adding to it.”
A consultation process has been launched through leafleting local residents but the scheme already has planning permission and the PCT aims for building work to begin in December and services could be up and running by April 2009.
Anyone with any feedback on the plans can email firstname.lastname@example.org .