CONCERNS have been raised at plans to open a £9million unit for mentally ill youngsters in Colchester.

North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has put forward designs for the unit for 11 to 18-year-olds at the former Severalls Hospital Site in Boxted Road.

Youngsters with severe mental health problems, including dangerous behaviour, drug and alcohol problems, and those at risk of self-harming, will be housed in ten bedrooms.

A further 15 bedrooms will be built for young patients considered lower risk. They will be allowed to come and go as they wish.

The site will face houses in Boxted Road and will be almost entirely surrounded by a two metre high fence.

Malcolm Nicholson, of Boxted Road, said some householders in Whitebeam Close are concerned about the proximity of the unit.

He said: “There are so many units round here I think many people think another one isn’t going to make much of a difference. However, I think some people in Whitebeam Close have expressed concerns about noise.

“It depends on how it is run and whether the young adults are catered for properly and cared for and allowed out.”

Ward councillor Martin Goss added: “I think that there’s been health services in Mile End for a great many decades, and there is a need for this kind of establishment.

“Provided it’s secured and it’s not near residents’ houses then I haven’t got any complaints about it.

The trust says the scheme will fill “gaps in provision” and help improve “continuity of care”.

The unit will replace services at the Longview Adolescent Unit in Turner Road.