Recovery hub for people with substance abuse disorders set to be approved despite “policing concerns”

A recovery hub for people with substance abuse disorders is set to be approved despite “policing concerns”.

An application by the City of York Council to repurpose former office space in Wellington Row has been recommended to be approved by the council’s planning committee.

The proposed new use as a ‘York Recovery Hub’ is “to serve as a venue to enable people with both direct and indirect lived experience of substance use disorders to have an important role in helping more York residents enter, establish and sustain recovery.”

The hub would be open seven days a week from 7am-10pm.

Wellington Row. Google MapsWellington Row. Google Maps
Wellington Row. Google Maps
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A report on the proposal says that the council received 67 letters of support from the wider community and one objection from the York Rowing Club.

However, it also includes an objection from the North Yorkshire Police Designing out Crime Officer.

It reads: “There is a policing concern that the change of use will bring about a change to the dynamics of the area to the detriment of the established community, which has happened where similar schemes have been set up in the city.

“It is considered that this change of use might attract a criminal element looking to prey on vulnerable service users and/or it being a draw for crime and antisocial behaviour.

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“The area under Lendal Bridge is out of the way and sheltered from the elements and groups loitering here could be a problem for passers-by, and the local businesses.

“It is recommended that there be a robust management policy to deal with crime and disorder issues, not just inside the premises but also for its immediate vicinity.

“It should include a means to raise issues with the management of the scheme by the established community in the area so that problems are dealt with in a timely manner and do not escalate.

“It is requested that this be conditioned.”

Anonymous comments in support of the application have also been included in the report, with one saying: “A recovery hub has been planned for the last 10 years and this application represents a long overdue and much-needed resource for the recovery community.”

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Another read: “The hub would help the principle of addiction recovery being a visible and accepted mainstream aspect of civic life and would help to change public perception.”

The two-storey grade II listed building was originally constructed in the early 20th century as an electricity substation.

It was most recently in use as a public drop-in centre and exhibition space with ancillary office accommodation used by the Environment Agency but has been vacant since September 2022.

Permission is sought to repurpose the existing ground floor space as part of a community centre ‘recovery hub’ operating from the whole property, including the first floor, which already sits in the relevant use class.

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The application therefore relates to change of use class for the ground floor only and works to the building would be restricted to renewal of interior décor.

There are no proposed changes to the fabric of the building.

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