Charity lodges plan for drug treatment centre

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A PLANNING application has been submitted for a new drug and alcohol treatment centre in Bury St Edmunds – next door to an existing facility.

If successful Open Road, a charity that aims to reduce the harmful impact of drugs and alcohol on users, their families and society, will be based in offices previously used by Suffolk County Council’s social services, next to Focus12, in Risbygate Street.

The charity expects to deliver its services to at least 1,630 clients across Suffolk each year, which will include around 490 people in Bury with substance misuse problems.

The application says the location was selected by Open Road because of ‘its edge of town centre location, possibilities of synergies with Focus12 and its good public transport links’.

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: “Having the providers located next door to each other would ensure a close working relationship and smooth transfer of clients from Open Road to Focus12 for residential treatment when required.”

Open Road and Crime Reduction Initiatives (CRI) will take over Suffolk Drug Alcohol Action Team’s contracts when its current ones with Focus12 and SMS West expire on March 31. It is not yet known where in Bury CRI will be based.

Chip Somers, chief executive of Focus12, said: “We’re pleased that there’s going to be a service provided to local people with drug and alcohol problems and hope that they will be able to make use of Focus12’s abstinence programme over the coming years.”

A consultation about Open Road’s planning application is scheduled to take place on Thursday. If there are no objectors the application could be approved by St Edmundsbury Borough Council any time after that.

But if a councillor asks for the plans to be scrutinised they will go to the council’s development control committee on February 3.