Anger As Home Gets Go-Ahead For Mental Health Patients

An appeal to allow a nursing home to be used by people with mental health problems has been permitted, even though hundreds of people protested against it.

The property, on Abergele Road, Colwyn Bay, was bought by Potens in October 2004, a company that own a chain of nursing homes. Councillors claim that the company ‘decanted’ elderly residents to other homes because they can make more money out of housing patients with mental health needs and alcohol acquired brain injuries.

Potens were initially refused planning permission to change the function of 487 Abergele Road by Conwy Council, but Mr Farragher, owner of Potens, appealed to the National Assembly. Gwynedd Thomas, an Assembly Inspector, overturned the council’s decision after an inquiry on December 12. Cllr Bob Squire said: “I am extremely disappointed with this decision. “Locals are worried about the level of supervision that patients, with conditions such as schizophrenia, will receive, particularly when they leave the home. “I am also in correspondence with a 95-year-old woman who is upset at the way she, and other residents, were asked to leave the home.”

A 386 name petition was submitted to the appeal hearing by Colwyn Bay residents afraid of the threat that patients might pose to the community. Denise Whittle, who organised the petition, said: “We are all horrified by the decision. This is not about people, it is about money. “We are now waiting to see what our legal position is.”

A spokesperson for the Local Health Board said that a nursing home would receive £111 p/w for care of elderly people, and £495.35 p/w for ‘continuing health care’. Cllr David Cowans added that in the appeal hearing Mr Thomas relied heavily on evidence provided by Miss Stadames, Potens’ Chief Operating Officer, and Dr Trevalyn, neither of whom turned up. Mr Thomas, in his appeal report, said that the main issues to consider where the ‘living conditions of residents in the area’ and the ‘character of the area’.

He concluded that these would not be adversely affected. Potens said they acknowledge people’s fear, but that there was no evidence to suggest that the facility would have a negative impact on the area.