Plan for new mental health unit at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd rejected as ‘not fit for purpose’
Outline planning permission to build a replacement for a “not fit for purpose” mental health unit at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd has been refused by Denbighshire councillors – against officer recommendations.
The idea would have seen a brand new 64-bed “state-of-the-art” mental health facility and multi storey car park built, plus the current Ablett Unit turned into administrative offices.
The revolt against the plans came after a PR drive and public consultation by the health board.
However, residents of local properties on Ffordd Parc y Castell in Bodelwyddan complained that proposals for the two and three storey building would affect their privacy and visual amenity.
Outline planning would have agreed maximum parameters for the construction being more than 57ft high and as close as 80ft from family homes on Ffordd Parc y Castell.
An objector, identified only as Mr Llwyd, spoke passionately against the scheme to councillors at Wednesday’s planning meeting.
He said back in August residents’ worlds were “turned upside down” by news of the development.
He added: “We have been trying to reason with planners. We are not against trying to improve mental health care but please don’t put it behind our garden fences.
“We are desperate for you to see our perspective. We would always be afraid of what would happen.
“Half of our house would not be private any more. If the unit is built here it would create issues and harm our mental health too.
“It would break our hearts if the plans went through unamended.”
At its highest point, the development, which covers 2.8 hectares, would be 17.5m (57ft) high.
Planning officers recommended approval of the scheme which would provide adult psychiatric and mental health services with 64 inpatient beds.
As well as acute mental health services, the new construction would include a dementia assessment unit.
Betsi Cadwaladr claimed the unit would represent “a new chapter in how mental health care is delivered for some of the most acutely unwell people in Conwy, Denbighshire and parts of Flintshire”.
However, it was raised in the meeting that, had Betsi Cadwaladr’s plans been more advanced, there would have been no need for outline planning permission and a full planning application could have been heard.
It was suggested outline planning was not needed as the principle of redevelopment on the site was already established.
Had outline planning been granted it would have agreed just the principle of building there and the potential scale of the development, with finer details being agreed later.
Cllr Ann Davies (Rhuddlan ward) opposed the scale of the scheme, saying Denbigh Hospital had been closed down for exactly that reason, it was too large – and smaller local units were preferred.
“It’s far too large,” she said.
Cllr Paul Penlington agreed, calling the building “a step backwards” and encouraged councillors to oppose the plans.
Members voted 11-6 to reject the application, which means Betsi Cadwaladr must go back to the drawing board and design a scheme which takes into account the residential and visual amenity of nearby residents – or find a new site.
Betsi Cadwaldr UHB has been contacted for comment.
By Jez Hemming – Local Democracy Reporter
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