Residents' joy as bid to extend hours at Durham drug treatment centre dropped (From The Advertiser Series)
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Residents' joy as bid to extend hours at Durham drug treatment centre dropped
RESIDENTS are delighted after their campaign to prevent a controversial drug and alcohol treatment centre opening late into the evening ended in success.
People living in Whinney Hill, Durham City, have been fighting to stop the Centre for Change opening from 8am to 10pm, seven days a week.
A Durham County Council spokeswoman confirmed the application has now been withdrawn, pending a review of all drug and alcohol services across the county.
Diane Ward, secretary of Whinney Hill Community Group, said: “We are of course delighted with the news.”
She declined to comment on the reason for the withdrawal.
The NHS moved its services from behind the Big Jug on Claypath to near Durham Prison on Whinney Hill last year, despite WHCG’s claims it would lead to increased crime, anti-social behaviour and parking problems and ruin their efforts to stop “studentification” and bring more families back onto the street.
A Durham County Council planning committee initially restricted the facility’s opening hours to weekday daytimes, Saturday mornings and until 7pm one night a week.
But late last year the council, which is now responsible for public health matters, sought consent to extend the hours.
At the time, Mark Harrison, the joint commissioning manager at the council’s drug and alcohol commissioning team, said there had been no reports of anti-social behaviour and longer hours were being sought to give people help when they needed it.
In a letter, Angela Scully, of Durham, a recovering addict and alcoholic who attends the Centre for Change, said it was offering very positive, effective, abstinence orientated options for recovery.
She added: “I have not seen any anti-social behaviour or witnessed any loitering or littering more than anywhere else in Durham, and am left wondering if this response from residents is no more than a knee-jerk reaction to having the centre in their own back yard.
“If anything, they should be feeling a sense of pride that something so positive is happening in their community.”
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