Drug misuse unit set to open in city centre

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COUNCILLORS have given the green light for a drug treatment unit to open in Sheffield city centre, after previous plans were blocked by a residents’ campaign.

Drug addiction charity Crime Reduction Initiatives will now open the substance misuse centre in a grade II listed building on Arundel Street.

CRI, commissioned by Sheffield’s Drug and Alcohol Action Team, will use the vacant units for day care programmes, needle exchange, counselling and health checks.

They previously applied to use offices on Townhead Street for the centre, but the plan fell apart after nearly 200 neighbours, businesses and councillors mounted a campaign opposing the scheme.

Objectors said the Townhead Street site was completely unsuitable - in the same building as a Girl Guides unit and opposite a block of flats.

Business representatives said they already suffered because of the proximity of Ben’s Place and the Archer Project, and complained a third centre would make problems worse.

In December Sheffield Council’s city centre, south and east planning committee refused planning permission for the Townhead Street plan - but councillors indicated they would support the project on a more suitable site.

The Arundel Street unit proposal provoked just one letter of objection and 18 in support.

The building was the master’s house in a complex of little mesters’ workshops.

Planning officer Lucy Bond told councillors: “This new location is of a very different character. Although we have done widespread consultation we have received very few representations.”

Councillors voted unanimously to grant planning permission.

The centre will now run from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1.30pm on Saturdays.

CRI staff said clients will be given a set of behaviour ground rules and will usually attend by appointment. CCTV will also be installed.