Peterborough residents’ anger over alcohol and drug rehab centre plans

Residents living near the proposed site of a new drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre have hit out after they were not included in a consultation process.

By Stephen Briggs
Friday, 9th April 2021, 5:00 am

A planning application has been approved the city council to convert Peterborough by Verve at The Hub in Newton Way, Fengate, to a residential care facility with a meeting room and gym. A planning application has been approved the city council to convert Peterborough by Verve at The Hub in Newton Way, Fengate, to a residential care facility with a meeting room and gym.

The proposed use would be operated by Nick Conn, the founder and CEO of Help4addiction and Verve Health, as a specialist private drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre regulated by the Care Quality Commission with treatment programmes ranging from seven days to one month.

But residents living in the Fengate mobile home park, located a few yards away from the site have said they have not been included in any consultation - and are worried about how the proposals will impact their lives.

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Fengate Park homes residents outside the Verve Hotel. They were not consulted about the hotel's change of use planning application. EMN-210204-104301009

Jason Drake, who lives at the park, said; “The first that we really knew of this was after planning had gone through. We have heard there was public consultation, which is very strange as all but one of the residents On the Fengate Mobile Home Park knew nothing about it, and were unable to voice their views.

“Many of the residents on the park are quite vulnerable and would make easy targets for people leaving the Hub, considering there are more than 100 homes less than 100 meters from the Hub.

“Also I feel this would have an effect on the price of our homes should any of us choose to sell with such a facility on the doorstep.

“I am for restorative justice but the position of the Hub is not the place for such a facility. Equally I am sure many of the local companies would not be in favour of this.

“I often walk past that area and have never seen any notices put on lamp posts with planning application notes on them. If I had I could have had my say, as could all the local residents.

“I strongly object to local residents being overlooked.”

East Ward councillors, Shabina Qayyum and Sam Hemraj, who represent the residents at the mobile home park, said they were in contact with the council and the residents about the issue.

In a joint statement, the two councillors said: “East Ward Labour Councillors representing the residents are working with the Peterborough City Council’s planning department to find out why the Fengate Mobile Caravan Park was excluded from the consultation process.

“Both councillors, Hemraj and Qayyum have met with residents on the site and have both written and spoken to them on the telephone to make them aware of the developments as they take place.

“The councillors have informed residents their intentions to arrange a meeting with the new Drug and Alcohol Rehab Facility management team in due course, to safeguard residents’ concerns and discuss the security elements around the facility.”

A spokesperson for Peterborough City Council, said: “The requirements for consultation on planning applications is governed by the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) Order 2015.

“This is a nationally prescribed regulation requiring notification of those properties adjoining an application site by letter. With regards to site notices and press adverts, there are a number of instances where this is required but none were applicable to this application.

“In addition, the Council has an adopted Statement of Community Involvement which sets out how we will consult with the public. This application accorded with both of the these.

“The location of the Mobile Home Park meant that it did not fall within the statutory requirement for its residents to be notified of the application.”