Residents have expressed opposition to Lewisham council’s proposal to open a drug and alcohol treatment centre in Brockley Cross.
The council is currently holding a public consultation on the plans, which, if approved, would see the opening of the centre on Shardeloes Road, Brockley Cross. This would be the main site for users of the drug and alcohol service in the north of the borough.
While the service is currently based on Lewisham High Street, Brockley Cross is a quieter, primarily residential area, with several nearby schools.
The Brockley Cross Action Group, a charity that works to improve the Brockley Cross area, are among those against the proposal. In a statement on their website, they say: “We believe Lewisham Council is making a costly mistake… This is an excellent service, worthy of community support, but it needs to be in the right place. Brockley Cross does not fit the bill.”
The group say the proposed site on Shardeloes Road is not an appropriate choice, due to the inadequacy of the building itself and the transport links available. They are also concerned that the relocation of the main service to Brockley Cross would lead to increased crime and anti-social behaviour in Brockley, which lacks the police resources available at the current site in Lewisham.
At a public consultation event on the proposal yesterday, locals expressed concerns about safety if the plans were to go ahead. Many also said that the Council had not done enough to tell residents about the proposal, and criticised the consultation process.
“Having the centre in that location is a danger for families and children,” said a Brockley resident Caroline, 47. “It’s a fantastic service, but it’s in the wrong location.”
Steve, 30, added: “The consultation from the outset has been a joke.”
John Morgan claimed there are already a number of bail hostels and similar services in the area. “Enough is enough,” he said. “It’s not a case of being ‘NIMBY’… our back yard is full.”
There was also concern that no other potential sites have been proposed by the council. Locals suggested that Waldron Health Centre, New Cross, would be more suitable.
A spokesperson for Lewisham council said there is currently a lack of service provision in the north of the borough. If the proposal is approved, “service users who live in the Deptford, New Cross and Brockley areas will be able to access services more readily.”
On the consultation, the council said: “1,000 households in the immediate vicinity of the proposed site have been contacted asking them to submit their views. Local schools and colleges are being consulted, along with community and voluntary groups, the local Safer Neighbourhood Team and Ward Councillors.”
The consultation document produced by the Council’s Drug and Alcohol Action Team states: “We have carefully considered the potential impact on the local community and how this can be minimised.” CCTV cameras and other measures will be provided to deter crime and antisocial behaviour.
The issue has attracted much discussion on Brockley Central, a popular blog, where comments show a wide range of opinions. One Brockley resident has also started an online petition against the proposal.
ELL spoke to other locals not at the meeting, and many had reservations about the plans. However. Shopkeeper Jay Patel, 45, said: “Obviously they have to treat people so that they get better, and if everyone says no, where are they going to go?”
More information is available on Lewisham council’s website. The consultation will run until December 19. The proposal will be discussed at Brockley Ward Panel, which will be held at Lewisham College on November 17 and Brockley Local Assembly on November 23.