Thursday, January 11, 2007

Colwyn Bay - Drug needle machine plan rejected

Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 January 2007, 17:17 GMT 
Drug needle machine plan rejected
Colwyn Bay police station
The machine was to be fixed at the back of the police station
Councillors have thrown out controversial proposals for a needle exchange machine for drug users outside a Conwy police station.The planned machine - also rejected by community councillors in September - was recommended to be "conditionally supported" by officials.
North Wales Police had wanted to place the £10,000 machine in Colwyn Bay for use by registered addicts.
The decision was greeted by applause from the public gallery.
North Wales Police had applied for the planning permission on behalf of the Conwy Substance Misuse Action Team.
The machine would have dispensed clean needles to drug users and allowed them to dispose of their used needles in a steel bin.
Richard Brunstrom
Mr Brunstrom said the £10,000 machine would help save lives.
But at a previous meeting involving members of two community committees, councillors rejected the plans saying the proposed location was inappropriate.
The idea was also attacked by drug treatment charity Touchstones12 who put an advert in a local newspaper to condemn the scheme.
The local authority received 30 letters of objection and a petition of 221 signatures.
When a needle exchange facility was set up in a pharmacy in the town in October, it was thought North Wales Police may abandon the plan for another in a Conwy Police Station.
The force said the purpose of the application was to provide a needle exchange service for the Colwyn Bay catchment area 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Help and Advice
A report compiled before Wednesday's planning committee meeting concluded the plans should be "conditionally supported", adding that CCTV would help allay residents' fears.
But the meeting heard many were against the scheme, particularly as a local chemist and a mobile unit were now providing a service.
Opponents said it was inappropriate to locate it at the station, near to a youth club and educational facilities.
It was also claimed drug addicts needed advice and help, which they could not get from an unmanned machine.
The decision to reject the application was greeted by applause from the public gallery. 

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