York drug centre sites shelved by council

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CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating after council chiefs have shelved plans to build a controversial drug recovery centre near a primary school and nursery.

York Council’s current drug recovery services are provided from a number of buildings across the city, but the council has put forward plans for a new integrated service from one single site.

Last year, two possible locations were identified on Walmgate and Monkgate, close to St Wilfrid’s Primary School and Nursery.

However, following a number of concerns raised over issues such as crime, antisocial behaviour and drug litter, the council announced yesterday that it was now looking to find a more suitable option within a council-owned building.

A spokeswoman for St Wilfrid’s School welcomed the decision, saying: “We are absolutely delighted with the news, it is the right decision not to site it near our school and nursery.”

The council has made its decision after hosting a number of public meetings in the Guildhall to listen to residents’ views.

Paul Murphy, assistant director for integrated commissioning at York Council, said: “I would like to thank residents for their patience and for their valuable input at the consultation meetings.

“Public consultation has by and large confirmed the need for such services in York.

“However, local residents and businesses put forward a number of arguments against the specific buildings identified by the consultants.

“Some people also suggested we should have another look at the possibility of providing the services from within one of our own buildings.

“We are still exploring the best solution but we are now confident that we will be able to find one or more suitable options within our own council buildings.”

The centre will provide services such as one-to-one counselling, group work, a needle exchange, abstinence support and medical advice and treatment.