A controversial new medium secure unit for convicted criminals and mental health patients in inner-city Birmingham looks set to opened in early 2012, health chiefs have revealed.
Detailed plans for the 85-bed, all-male Yardley Green Medium Secure Unit, in Bordesley Green, will be submitted to planning chiefs in two months’ time as Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust moves ahead with the hospital that will generate up to 350 jobs for the suburb.
But it has become an emotive topic as the Outline Business Case was approved by Mental Health Trust board members in June despite many residents and councillors opposing the plans.
Local councillors Zaker Choudhry and Ansar Ali Khan claim residents surrounding the former Yardley Green Hospital site, off Yardley Green Road, were not being kept properly informed about the development.
Peter Wilson, project manager from Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust, said newsletters had been sent out after public meetings with residents became hostile.
“Detailed designs are on-going and we are hoping to get a planning decision by the end of this year,” Mr Wilson said. “The Full Business Case should go to the Trust Board around March-April next year and building work should start around next July.
“It is likely to take two years but could be brought down to 18 months and patients will be admitted over a nine-month period.
“We are involving local people as we want it to generate jobs, so people can get trained for positions that will become available when it opens.”
Coun Khan (Lab, Washwood Heath), who was unaware of any newsletter, said: “The residents were against this, MPs and councillors were against this and did everything to stop it, but the project had gone too far. The Trust sending out a newsletter to people whose first language is not English is not enough.”
Bordesley Green resident Gerry Moynihan said many locals were frightened to become involved and hear updates as belligerent campaigners from the Safer Communities Group staged aggressive protests at any update meetings.