Plans to convert former Lancaster radio station building into drug and alcohol centre submitted

The plans include the change of the use of the Grade II Listed building in St George's Quay - formerly the home of The Bay and Heart FM - into offices and a health and wellbeing centre.

Monday, 15th June 2020, 10:15 am
Updated Monday, 15th June 2020, 10:24 am

National charity Change Grow Live (CGL) has applied to Lancaster City Council to change the use of 26 St George's Quay into offices and a health and wellbeing centre.

Located between the Maritime Museum and Quite Simply French, the accommodation was until recently occupied by The Bay and has been used as a radio station for around 20 years.

The Bay became Heart Radio in November 2017 after a company buy out by Global Media and Entertainment Group.

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The former home of The Bay in Lancaster is set to become a new health and wellbeing centre.

The building was also where Reebok started its life.

Number 26 was originally built in 1750 as a warehouse that served the quayside.

CGL says it is not undertaking any external works to the property, and it is planned that service users entering the building will use the two existing entrances.

There are no plans to change the internal physical structure of the walls or windows, only moving, removing, or adding to the current partition walls.

Musician Olly Murs outside the building in 2016.

CGL said in its planning statement to Lancaster City Council: "CGL, a social care and health charity, have been working with Lancaster City Council to deliver an integrated alcohol and drug behaviour change service, which includes treatment, recovery and community resilience for Lancaster adults aged 18+ who are affected by substance misuse.

"CGL would like to submit a planning application for a change of use for the above referenced premises in order to provide the behaviour change service in Lancaster.

"We are proposing to use this building as a central hub for Lancaster residents, to deliver the integrated behaviour change service.

"The Lancaster hub will provide a range of clinical and therapeutic services, including recovery support to Lancaster residents and their families who may be concerned and affected by drug and/or alcohol.

"The service will deliver services in line with the principles of the 5 ways to wellbeing; Connect, Be Active, Give, Take Notice and Keep Learning.

"The service has been designed to meet the needs of Lancaster residents and will include: general advice, information and education, harm reduction and wellbeing advice and interventions, medical and nursing intervention, 1-1 and group sessions for both brief and structured programmes and volunteering and mentoring support.

"The service will proactively encourage links to peer-support and local mutual aid groups.

"Senior representatives involved in Public Health commissioning at the County Council support our application to utilise this building to create a new and inspiring behaviour change service for Lancaster residents.

"While scoping the locality for potential premises we have taken into consideration the following factors: public transport, parking, accessibility and cost effectiveness whilst being mindful to ensure minimum interruption to neighbouring businesses and local residents.

"We feel that this building is an ideal central point for the Hub and will offer optimum access from all areas within Lancaster and the surrounding areas."

It said the service will be fully staffed at all times to ensure customers are appropriately supported when accessing the premises, and this it will be "discreet and ensure non congregation of customers in the immediate area by offering a welcoming reception and coffee shop area and a wide range of meeting spaces within the building."

"Non congregation will also be minimised by the majority of customers accessing the service on an appointment basis only," it added.

The core opening hours will be 8am – 8pm on week days with some provision on weekends.

Nationally, CGL are responsible for over 320 sites which deliver services similar to this one.

Caroline Nugent Facilities Advisor North for CGL, said: "Our experience shows us that anxieties are significantly reduced once people understand our aims, culture and approach.

"We will manage any negative publicity sensitively to allow positive community relations to prosper.

"We will provide a community liaison representative to work alongside any organisations in the vicinity that would like to have some representation; this is a common area of support that we have provided at other sites which has been productive and beneficial to residents and local business.

"The Hub would offer a provision to the wider community to utilise space for meetings or learning opportunities.

"We envisage this building would also facilitate collaboration with partnership agencies by allowing us to host visiting representatives from partnership organisations."