Street drinkers treatment unit in Lincoln ready to welcome first users
A £2 million residential treatment centre for street drinkers in Lincoln will welcome its first service users next summer.
The four storey, 15-bed facility will be built on the corner of St Rumbold's Street and Friars Lane. Framework housing association was granted planning permission for the project last week.
It replaces an earlier proposal for South Park, Lincoln, which was strongly opposed by residents fearing antisocial behaviour.
The nearest houses to the new development on the old Autoglass site are a handful north along Friars Lane and on the south side of St Rumbold's Street. Service users will enter the unit from the city centre without passing existing houses.
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John East, 67, of Clarina Street, Lincoln, and chairman of Monks Road Neighbourhood Initiative, said: "These facilities are desperately needed. I suspect even this won't be enough but it's a start.
"It's probably true that no one wants this in their backyard.
"There are only a few houses nearby so this is probably the best location they can find."
Framework says that since the Pathways Centre in Beaumont Fee opened two years ago, 28 of the 65 homeless people it has dealt with have declared an alcohol problem.
The new facility is based on the highly effective Michael Varnam House service in Nottingham and aims to help street drinkers change their ways and live sustainable, independent lives in the community.
Framework chief executive Andrew Redfern said: "Street drinking is a serious problem in Lincoln – for the city and for the drinkers themselves.
"Substantial efforts are being made by a number of agencies to address the problem and this development is part of a long-term solution that we believe will save a considerable amount of public money in years to come.
"I am delighted that members of the council's planning committee voted unanimously in favour of it.
"In doing so they have recognised our experience and strong track record in working with people who are alcohol dependent.
"We look forward to working with them and others to turn this scheme into a successful community asset."
Charity fundraiser Hayley Child, 28, of South Park, said the new site will be much more suitable.
"Being in the city centre will be a lot better for Framework and people using the support service because it's closer to all the other services," she said.
"It is a great service but you cannot have something like that in a residential area."
Vic Hughes, a member of South Park Residents' Association, said: "It is better that it's not going to be built in a residential area like here but I feel sorry for the people in the new Premier Inn – they're not going to be happy.
"God help the people of St Rumbold's Street – this is doomed to disaster."