News: 2 June 2020Unanimous decision for respite centre for adults in suicidal crisis

Our Manchester team have been successful in securing planning permission for the change of use of a residential dwelling into a respite centre for adults in suicidal crisis for Mosscare St. Vincent, providing the first centre of its kind outside of London.

Operated by Maytree, and a second centre for them, it will offer a free, four-night stay for adults over the age of 18, providing a safe, confidential and a non-medical environment for guests.

The location of the facility was vital for the centre, with the requirement for a safe, attractive and peaceful neighbourhood with excellent access to public transport. It was essential that the property appear no different from any other residential property. Whilst also its location in Prestwich provides an opportunity for Maytree to connect to a wider network of mental health and well-being facilities that operate in north Manchester. This includes Prestwich Hospital, an NHS facility specialising in mental health and wellbeing as well as the Creative Living Centre, a mental health and wellbeing charity located within a five-minute walk of the new Maytree facility.

The project provided some challenges for our team along the way. Although planning Officers were supportive of the principle of the scheme, there were a number of technical challenges to overcome, including addressing residential amenity concerns arising from shift handovers and staffing, as well as highway considerations and off-street parking. This resulted in additional parking spaces being sourced from a nearby property. The team also had some local concerns to contend with, in general there was a great deal of support, but as you would suspect the proposal was also met with scepticism from some local residents owing to misconceptions of what the facility would be and the nature of its operations.

Having overcome technical concerns, and addressing local concerns, the application was recommended for approval and subsequently considered at Bury Council’s first ‘virtual’ Planning Committee earlier in May.

A unanimous vote was secured with positive comments including “We are proud to have something like this in Prestwichandevery area should have one.”

Commenting on the result, Senior Planner Dan Ingram said “Members from the committee recognised that the proposal represented an opportunity to be at the forefront of an emerging movement and that it offered tangible benefits to the local community. This has been an important project for the region/area and one of which we as a team are very proud of given the growing importance of mental health and wellbeing on our communities.”

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