Bell Walk, Uckfield, where a centre to help address substance and alcohol misuse problems could be opened.

Centre to address substance and alcohol misuse gets go ahead to open in Uckfield

Update on Thursday, September 17, 2015: Planning permission has been given for a centre to help address substance and alcohol misuse problems to be opened in Bell Walk, Uckfield.

Approval was given in a decision, delegated to a Wealden Council officer, made on September 2.

Our original story on August 3: Crime Reduction Initiatives, a national charity, has applied for planning permission to change the use of Suites 1 and 2 Bell House, from B1 business to D1 non-residential institution, which includes clinics and health centres.

In a letter accompanying the planning application Crime Reduction Initiatives (CRI) says it provides services to support individuals, families and communities whose lives are adversely affected by crime, substance misuse, homelessness, anti-social behaviour, domestic violence, social deprivation and lack of opportunity.

It wants to use the Bell Walk premises to deliver part of the East Sussex Recovery Services to “help the local community address substance and alcohol misuse problems”.

It says the service is well-established in Uckfield and is currently being delivered at the Civic Centre but there is a need to relocate to an alternate more purposefully designed property.

CRI works in partnership with health services, GPs, pharmacies, children and family services, drug and alcohol action teams, local authorities and local communities.

The East Sussex Recovery Services incorporate comprehensive need assessments, individual care-planning and structured interventions which support the rehabilitation of service users in the process of making positive and sustained changes to their lifestyle.

“The service also provides advice and information to any persons affected by drug or alcohol misuse (including family members, friends, colleagues and the general public).”

The letter goes on to say the service is provided to benefit residents of Uckfield and outlying areas and so it is imperative the premises are readily accessible to the local community. The Bell Walk premises are near the bus station, railway station and a car park.

The premises are mainly at first floor level and accessed via a stairwell and so do not lend themselves to wheelchair access but the plan is to install a ground floor interview space to ensure the services are accessible to clients, staff and visitors without the need to navigate steps.

The letter says: “The congregation of service users in and around the premises and locality will not be tolerated. The majority of service users accessing these premises are attending pre-arranged counselling sessions and as such they are expected to arrive at their designated appointment.”

• Medication would not be held, stored or administered on the site and the services would not incorporate a needle exchange facility, according to the planning documents.

Full details of the planning application can be seen on the Wealden Council website.

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