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Last Updated: Monday, 9 October 2006, 10:08 GMT 11:08 UK
Protest over mental health unit
Residents in Lincolnshire have called for a public meeting with developers after discovering a mental health unit is to be opened in their village.

Glentworth House in Hemswell Cliff operated as a similar unit until 2004, but residents say they have not been kept informed of new plans.

The new owners, Caring Homes, purchased the land near Gainsborough complete with planning permission for the unit.

The company reassured residents the site would be a "low secure unit".

'No danger'

In a statement, Caring Homes, said: "The existing unit was closed in 2004 as it did not meet current regulatory standards and Caring Homes now intends to provide a building that will meet those requirements.

"The unit will be registered as an independent hospital for 28 residents and it will not be permitted to accept people with serious forensic histories who could present a danger to the local community."

The unit will house patients who no longer require secure care but still need "a high level of support" and are referred to the hospital by NHS primary care trusts, GPs and social workers.

Caring Homes stressed the unit would not house patients with a history of extreme criminal or sexual behaviour.

Edward Leigh, MP for Gainsborough, said he understood the communities concerns but there was little to discuss.

"I've had reassurances from the company that it is a low security unit and that the people are completely harmless but have to be locked up for their safety and I have to accept what they've told me.

"It's not really a question of fighting for or against this as it already has planning permission and I think it would be very hard to unpick this, especially as there was a mental health unit here before," he said.

Mr Leigh added local people had his support for a public meeting with developers but ultimately the unit was likely to go ahead.


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