Labour Councillors for South Portslade – Alan Robins and Les Hamilton – are calling on the City Council and local NHS commissioners to pause their plans to open a 40-bed mental health facility in Portslade Old Village at the old Le Carbone building, in order to consult with residents.
Cllr Robins and Hamilton are concerned that there has been no proper discussion around how this type of facility might impact on the local community or whether the needs of the residents of the facility can be properly met in this setting.
The 40-bed unit will house people with medium to long term mental health needs and will be made up of clients from existing services run by Brighton Housing Trust and Sanctuary Housing.
Cllr Robins said:
“We had very little warning around this, we were told just seven days before they were going to move the first clients in!”
These plans have now moved back to early November but Alan and Les are worried that local residents have had no chance to look at plans and discuss them with their local councillors, council officers or the NHS commissioning team.
The councillors have also been contacted by staff from the existing services who are worried that clients will not cope in the proposed setting. These members of staff will be transferred from the existing services to the new building.
There has been a suggestion the move should take place without telling local residents anything; something that Cllr Robins described as “ludicrous and against the council’s pledge to be open and honest.”
The Le Carbone was for many years a factory and originally a brewery. It has been refitted and rebuilt and now has 40+ flats and some new build houses. The houses have been sold but the plan would see the council and the NHS leasing the flats, with a charity from Durham (SJOG) actually running and staffing the facility.
Cllr Alan Robins, who sits on the council’s health and wellbeing board, is adamant that local residents have an opportunity to comment on the proposals:
“It may be their fears are unfounded and the council and NHS commissioners can reassure residents, but we need to give local people a chance to know what the proposals are, meet the organisation who will be running things and explore any concerns they might have.”
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