Safe, supportive area revolts to ban addicts

PUBLISHED: 07:51 03 July 2007 | UPDATED: 11:14 24 May 2010

RESIDENTS and traders fear their community will become filled with 'drug users, alcoholics and compulsive gamblers' if a counselling service opens. Western Counselling has applied to use its offices in Whitecross Road, Weston, as a centre to treat people

RESIDENTS and traders fear their community will become filled with 'drug users, alcoholics and compulsive gamblers' if a counselling service opens.Western Counselling has applied to use its offices in Whitecross Road, Weston, as a centre to treat people addicted to alcohol, drugs, food and gambling, much to the horror of the people who live near the firm.A flood of objections have been sent to North Somerset Council planners, who will have the final say on the plans.Residents say in their letters to the authority: "The general feeling among residents is despite the locality being in one of the deprived wards of North Somerset we live in a safe, supportive and improving area with quality shops."Not a scenario consistent with drug users, alcoholics and compulsive gamblers."Families and the elderly will feel vulnerable fearing that drug dealers are likely to be present in the area trying to entice people back to their addiction. It is a fact that acts of crime are often drug-related."If businesses lose public support they will be forced to close and try to move elsewhere, once again our properties will be generally devalued and the community will be back where we were a few years ago."Western Counselling says it realises there is a lot of concern among residents and traders but insists the addicts will all be living in care homes locally and will be walked to the centre by a member of staff.It will be used on average by 20-22 clients a day. They will not be allowed to be taking any kind of mood-altering substances other than their medication.The firm says in its application: "Clients already live within the community within well-run and long-established care homes."Their ability to walk and live within the community without any adverse consequences will remain unchanged as a consequence of the proposal.

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