Plans on the table for mental health unit

Proposals to demolish part of a mental health unit in Hellingly have been put forward after initial plans to refurbish the site was reconsidered.

It was thought that the refurbishment would not tackle potential security breaches at Ashen Hill, so plans are now on the table to knock that site down and make space for two new 15 bed wards and support accommodation linking with the adjacent site the Hellingly Centre.

The two sites are both medium secure mental health units, while Southview – which is based next to the two buildings – is a low secure mental health unit.

If permission is granted the new wards would be slightly modified versions of the Hellingly Centre wards.

Permission was granted for the development of the Hellingly Centre back in 2010 to include the refurbishment of Ashen Hill and Southview.

The Hellingly Centre was opened in 2012.

In a report outlining the latest plans it read, ‘After detailed analysis it is clear that the section height and layout of Ashen Hill offers potential security breaches and reduced safety within the unit, neither of which could be successfully mitigate by refurbishment.

“Southview offers a different challenge whereby best nursing practice is hampered by the existing layout and best practice in patient management is unachievable. Neither building is suited to long term environmental improvement’.

Consultation on the plans is running until December 13.