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Inverness re-hab centre given permission for 46% expansion that could help save lives

By Neil MacPhail

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An Inverness centre that offers residential rehabilitation, community outreach and social care to people affected by substance use, has been given planning permission for an expansion that could help save lives.

Beechwood House which sits in its own grounds with a private garden and carpark off Old Perth Road, is run by CrossReach, a Church of Scotland charity.

CrossReach worked with the Scottish Government to add capacity and reduce waiting times for people to access services, and was awarded £2.4 million to develop its Beechwood site and provide more beds for the Highlands and Islands.

The new service will be known as the Highlands and Islands Recovery Centre.

This expansion will allow a 46% increase in annual service capacity and provide benefit to the Highlands as well as the surrounding areas of Moray and the Western and Northern Isles.

Beechwood House has been operating since 2002 and has established and effective links with alcohol and drugs partnerships and mental health colleagues across the country.

Vic Walker, adult care director, CrossReach said: "We are delighted to expand the work of CrossReach in Inverness and grateful for the Scottish Government support to allow greater capacity in our residential recovery services.

"This investment will help to reduce the time people are waiting to get the support they need. When people come forward for help it is vital that we respond quickly.

"Residential rehabilitation can make a huge difference for a person struggling with alcohol or drug use, for their families and for communities. Swifter access to services save lives, and people who complete residential rehabilitation often go on to be a positive influence in their communities."

CrossReach successfully applied for two small extensions to the side and rear of the detached care home and office building for Phase 1.

The proposed side extension will measure approximately 24.6m by 7.9m, . while the rear extension will measure approximately 15.8m by 6.4m. Planners agreed the site has sufficient space to accommodate extensions of this size. Car parking on site will not be affected.

Materials to be used for construction will match the existing building. The installation of PV heating panels on the buildings roof forms part of the plan.

Planners said the siting and design of the proposal is considered acceptable and will not be detrimental to residential and visual amenity.

It is considered also that the proposal accords with the principles and policies contained within the development plan and is acceptable in terms of all other applicable material considerations.

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