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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Drug and alcohol clinic set to open in middle of Workington

A drug and alcohol clinic will open in the middle of Workington town centre on Monday.

Workington drugs clinic photo
The site of the new clinic

Business owners and residents living near the Finkle Street premises fought fiercely to get the plans, by Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, thrown out.

But last year Allerdale council’s development panel gave the scheme the green light, despite a 350-signature petition and 22 letters of objections.

Work had been ongoing to get the clinic up and running by the end of last year, but due to problems with the building’s internet this was put back.

The trust has now announced that the clinic will open on Monday.

Business owners campaigned against the plans, saying that they feared for their future, and nearby residents said they would be living in fear for their safety.

Richard James, of Richard James Newsagents, launched a petition when plans were first revealed last year and collected 350 signatures in a matter of days.

He said he feared a lot of his customers would shop elsewhere as they would be intimidated by the people using the centre.

And Andrew Nelson, owner of nearby Craig Travel, has even threatened to pull his business out of the town as some of his customers told him they would book holidays elsewhere.

Many of the residents of Brow Top who have previously objected to the plans don’t want to voice their opinion now that the centre will open, for fear of any backlash.

The earmarked premises, 6 Finkle Street, have been empty for three years. It will now become a centre where people can access support to overcome their addictions from doctors, nurses, social workers and occupational therapists.

Councillor Carl Holding, who represents St Michael’s ward, said that most of the people he had spoken to were supportive of the facility, but not of the location.

At the development panel, where the scheme was given the go-ahead, he said: “Some have raised that it would be a honeypot for people with addictions and that there might be an increased temptation to shoplift.

“There’s a general fear that people will hang around outside. Some elderly people have said they’d be afraid about going out.”

But the health trust said that it ran similar centres in other towns and cities without any problems.

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