Opposition To Home Plan

Plans to open a care home for the mentally ill in Upper Clapton are being opposed by residents. The private health provider, Cascade Care Ltd, wants to house five mentally ill patients in a terraced house in Ickburgh Road.

Neighbours are angry, however, because they fear the patients, who may include people with schizophrenia, will be a threat to their safety if not properly monitored.

Cascade Care insists it has a strong track record of providing care to people with mental illness in Hackney.

But Ickburgh Road resident John Hill said: “I was somewhat dismayed to discover how easy it is to house mentally disordered patients in a residential area. This is even more disturbing when the house is next to Ickburgh School, with very vulnerable children, and it is to be run by a private company.”

Mr Hill’s fears were backed by Tory councillor Maureen Middleton, who met Cascade Care bosses last week. She said: “I am not sure whether these people are a risk, but to have an establishment where people might be coming from secure institutions is a bit risky. We don’t know where they are coming from and we don’t even know whether they are coming from Hackney.”

Cascade Care run five residential care homes in the borough for people with mental illnesses including depression or schizophrenia.

Patients recovering from mental illness can be housed in a care home on their way to full integration in the community. Their stay lasts between six months and two years.

Patients are supervised by two full-time staff and are free to enter and leave the home throughout the day.

Vicky Hall, the chief executive of Cascade Care, said: “Cascade Care is part of the solution, not part of a problem. “We are incredibly proud of over nine years of service in Hackney and equally proud that in all that time there have been no complaints about the services we provide or the people we care for. Cascade is local. Our staff live locally. We all want the best for the borough and its residents.”

A group of concerned residents met Hackney Council’s head of planning, Chris Berry, last week.

Ward councillors Linda Kelly, Michael Desmond and Faizullah Khan also attended the meeting at Dorothy Hodgkins House in Reading Lane, Hackney, on Wednesday,

Mr Berry explained that a Certificate of Lawfulness had been given to Cascade Care to go ahead with its plans.

A council spokeswoman said Cascade did not need planning permission under current law. She said: “In this case, the use they propose – a small residential care home – is no different from the residential use that exists and so the certificate must be issued which confirms that use.” The decision did not need to go before the planning committee and public consultation was not necessary, she confirmed. “If the use is not as the applicant says it is, the council can revoke the certificate in the future,” she added.