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Fears as addicts’ centre seeks High Street move
12:00pm Wednesday 8th January 2014 in Echo News
A COUNSELLING centre for alcoholics and drug addicts could open in Billericay High Street.
Synergy, a therapy and addiction service, wants to expand after outgrowing its base in nearby Chapel Street.
It has submitted plans to take over the first floor of Union House, but concerns have been raised about the move, leading to antisocial behaviour.
Synergy helps people overcome their addiction to gambling, drugs, sex, alcohol, cigarettes, food and shopping.
The organisation also offers support and treatment for people experiencing stress, depression, panic attacks, relationship problems, anger issues, anxiety and bereavement.
Dot Barrow, manager of Synergy, said: “We have outgrown Chapel Street, we have too many clients and too many staff and not enough space. Moving into Union House will allow us to expand howwe want to.
“The stigma attached to addiction and counselling isn’t as great as it used to be, so people are happier to come forward for help.”
Synergy also saw another facility open in Brentwood High Street last month.
The Bluebell Family Centre offers family and relationship counselling and therapy and addiction treatment for children and teenagers.
Phil Turner, deputy leader of Basildon Council and ward councillor for Billericay, is concerned about the High Street location of the new base.
He said: “It is commendable Synergy is doing this for the community, but residents will be concerned and need to know who this centre is going to attract.
“From what I know of Synergy, I am sure all of their concerns will be dealt with, but the trustees need to give us more information.
“They are doing good work, but what we don’t want in Billericay is to pay the price for it in terms of antisocial behaviour.”
Planning officers at Basildon Council are to decide on the plans by the end of next month.
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