Residents of Sheffield suburb hope for last-minute reprieve over mental health unit

29 Thornsett Road, Sheffield
29 Thornsett Road, Sheffield
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TIME is running out for Sheffield residents fighting plans for a crisis centre for mental health patients in their street.

Work is under way on a temporary home for people who have been discharged from institutional care in Thornsett Road, Nether Edge – despite ongoing legal proceedings.

Residents living near the semi-detached property, which will house up to six patients and two members of staff, have pinned their hopes on a judicial review – with less than two weeks to go until it begins operating.

Legal action was launched over Sheffield Council’s decision last December, amid fears charity Rethink’s plans could put members of the community at risk.

Campaigners highlighted knife killer Hannah Bonser – who went to a Rethink centre she had spent time at after stabbing 13-year-old Casey Kearney to death in a park in Doncaster on Valentine’s Day last year – as an example of potential dangers.

Phil Potter, who has lived in Thornsett Road since 2001, said: “Nobody is questioning whether Rethink should have this facility, it is the fact that it should not be in a semi-detached house in a residential street.

“There doesn’t seem to have been any thinking about the potential impact on the area. The police said they were not informed.

“There has been no real consultation.

“Lessons should have been learned from other cases.

“There are high instances of drug abuse in people who have these kind of problems. I am aware of substance abuse in 80 per cent of inhabitants in a similar Rethink centre in Leamington Spa.

“It is very much our hope a judge comes in and overturns the decision. It is a long shot.”

Pierre Drezett, who lives next door to the home, said: “The main issues are that the NHS and Rethink have not followed their own guidelines to establish a crisis house in this area and have unnecessarily blighted a community.”

Rethink plans to begin housing people with mental disorders on behalf of Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Trust from Friday, April 12.