Protesters hail victory in campaign to stop mental health unit scheme in Conisbrough

Councillor Christine Mills.
Councillor Christine Mills.

Controversial plans for a unit to treat people with serious mental health issues have been scrapped following protests from residents over safety concerns.

Nottinghamshire-based firm Eden Futures wanted to demolish the derelict Talisman pub in Conisbrough and indicated those treated could have been detailed under the Mental Health Act and suffering from conditions such schizophrenia.

Artists impression of the new centre at the former Talisman in Conisbrough.

Artists impression of the new centre at the former Talisman in Conisbrough.

But the company has withdrawn the plans after more than 100 objectors contacted Doncaster Council to express concern that patients could pose a security risk to the community.

Richard Linstead, said objectors had feared the development would spark an increase in disorder incidents but added residents were ‘delighted’ that the plans have been scrapped.

The 44-year-old, of Ellershaw Road, Conisbrough, said: “I am absolutely delighted, the residents have pushed the councillors and Eden all the way and the voice of the community has been heard. This facility clearly wasn’t right for the community or the purpose and common sense has prevailed.”

In a statement, Eden Futures explained how they withdrew the proposals after concerns raised meant the site ‘would no longer be able to meet patients needs’. However, they did not rule out further developments on the site.

Their statement read: “Our aim as a responsible care provider for vulnerable adults is always to ensure that we are placing those we care for into environments where they can flourish in their lives. The concerns that the local community raised through both the planning process and the local councillors has led Eden Futures to reassess our plans for the site. When the points the community raised were cross referenced with the likely clinical needs of patients, it became clear that the Talisman site will not be able to meet their needs, and so we have taken the decision to withdraw the planning application.

“We are now working with local councillors and property developers to establish how the Talisman site would best be developed to serve the local community.”

An initial planning application outlined the firm’s intention to flatten the Chestnut Grove pub site to make way for a’ Class C2’ two storey block of eight ‘supported living apartments’ and a single storey building of two apartments for staff.

Eden Futures did not give specific details about the type of patients who could receive treatment at the facility or answer questions about wether or not they would pose a security risk.

However, they indicated service users would be similar to those at one of their other sites - Bestwood Independent Hospital in Nottinghamshire - which takes in people who have been detained under the Mental Health Act.

People detained under the act are those deemed to be ‘putting their own safety or someone else’s at risk’ and can be kept in a hospital against their wishes. They could suffer from such serious conditions as schizophrenia. The firm said patients would receive care with a view to moving back into more independent living in the community.

All three Conisbrough and Denaby councillors, Craig Sahman, Sandra Holland and Christine Mills, also outlined their concerns and welcomed the decision.

Coun Sahman said: “We have listened to residents concerns about this planning application and we have made sure that Eden Futures were aware of them.”

Coun Holland praised residents for making a “very good argument in relation to inadequate car parking, houses being overlooked and the siting of the facility.”

Coun Mills said she was pleased Eden Futures reached the decision.