Casebook: Appeal Cases - Community facilities - Rehabilitation centre held to raise crime fears

The conversion of a grade II listed building in Essex to a rehabilitation centre for people with drug and alcohol problems has been rejected after an inspector found that it could lead to increased crime.

Under the proposal, residents occupying the 14 bed spaces would be medically screened before admission. The appellants indicated that no drugs would be allowed in the building other than those prescribed for patients. However, the inspector noted that little information had been provided on how far residents would be free to enter and leave the care home or the degree of supervision.

Research evidence indicating that some drug users are prone to stealing to fund their addiction could give rise to a fear of crime in the local community, he decided. Although he recognised that many patients would be committed to the treatment offered, he concluded that there was a distinct possibility that some would discharge themselves before the 12-week course expired.

He concluded that the risk of such patients remaining in the area could undermine the amenity and safety of local residents. His concern was reinforced by the fact that the local NHS trust did not appear to have endorsed the need for the centre.

DCS No: 100039202; Inspector: Stephen Brown; Inquiry.

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