Drugs rehab centre in Hartlepool church set to be approved despite objections

Planners are set to decide on changes made to a drug rehabilitation centre in a former church.

Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 7:33 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th July 2016, 8:39 am
The Elim Church building.

The facility, in Whitby Street, Hartlepool, is operated by the Elim Pentecostal Church, and provides assessment, counselling and rehabilitation support.

Planning permission is being sought, retrospectively, to change the use of the building to a rehabilitation centre for drug and alcohol dependents.

Some locals have objected to the application, with one person insisting the proposal “will not encourage businesses to relocate to this regeneration area”, and the proposed use is “not a benefit to an area the council is spending money on to improve”.

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Another issue addressed by a neighbour is that “it is pointless investing taxpayers’ money into the area and then allowing this type of use here”.

However, councillors will be recommended to improve the proposal at a meeting of Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee tomorrow.

In a report set to be discussed at the meeting, it is explained that the “ground floor will accommodate a reception area, kitchen, dining area, shower room, toilets and consulting rooms.

“The first floor will accommodate a communal area, foyer, office, counselling room, toilets and five bedrooms. The second floor will accommodate 10 bedrooms, bathrooms, a shower room, toilets and communal areas.

“Cellars and a storage room will be accommodated in the basement.”

The facility is staffed 24 hours a day, with occupants having their own bedrooms and meals provided, and a minimum of three staff members on duty at all times.

The objections to the proposal were received from two neighbouring properties on Whitby Street, submitted by the same person.

However, the plans have been recommended for approval, providing they are used for no other purpose than those outlined in the report.

The proposal covers the change of use of the former church meeting space to create eight more bedrooms.