Councillors have allowed a criminal rehabilitation provider to use more office space in Broadfield Barton.
Crawley council’s planning committee gave its consent for Crime Reduction Initiatives’s (CRI) to use the vacant first floor offices in Pelham House at a meeting on Monday (September 21).
The national charity provider currently uses the second floor of the building, which is opposite the Imperial pub off the Pelham Place roundabout.
A planning report stated the extension would allow CRI to offer a full service to its users at Pelham House. Medical aspects of the ‘fractured’ service it offered drug addicts, homeless people and people serving community sentences were being delivered at Crawley Hospital, GP clinics and pharmacies.
The decision over the application was referred to the council’s Development Control Committee after councillor Michael Jones (Lab, Bewbush) objected to the plans.
He raised concerns over an increase in crime which would affect the area’s businesses, residents and the perception of Crawley.
Councillor Brian Quinn (Lab, Broadfield) said before the meeting: “I’m pretty sure it will go through with councillors [on the committee] coming from different parts of Crawley they don’t see what’s happening in Broadfield every day.
“I’ve always been against it and all the residents I’ve spoken to, they don’t really want it here in Broadfield.
“There’s lots of buildings that are empty in the town that would be ideal for it.”
Mr Quinn said the service had a regional catchment area and would be better placed nearer the town centre because of its public transport links.
CRI needed planning permission to use the first floor because only its previous occupier, Addaction, a drug and alcohol treatment provider, had been granted permission for its D1 (non-residential institutions) usage.
The planning report stated measures CRI was taking in response to the concerns meant granting permission was justified.
It stated: “The principle of this proposed D1 use within this neighbourhood centre has been established through the 2001 permission.
“Thus the application relates to the variation of the condition only to allow the use to be operated by CRI and it is not considered that this change in the operator of these services would conflict with the relevant development plan policies.
“Notwithstanding the concerns that have been expressed, the use can be accommodated and managed within this building in a discrete way to support individuals and families with substance misuse issues, providing a needed facility for the wider community of Crawley commissioned by West Sussex County Council, and on this basis it is considered that the benefits would outweigh these concerns and the proposal to vary the condition, to allow the service to be provided by CRI, is acceptable at this location.”
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