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  • TP Editorial Team

Another Permission for the NHS

We are delighted to have obtained a further planning permission for the Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust for the use of a building in Stafford town centre for consulting rooms and offices in connection with their Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme.

2-3 Tipping Street is a 2 storey terraced building on the corner of St Chads Place and Tipping Street. The site is not listed but is adjacent to Grade II St Chad’s Church. It lies within Stafford Conservation Area and inside the Primary Shopping Area.

The proposal is to convert the whole of the building to counselling rooms and associated offices for use by the Trust's IAPT programme. This is an NHS service designed to offer short-term one-to-one counselling sessions, commonly known as ‘talking therapies’ or ‘talking treatments’, which can benefit most people. They provide treatment for people with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. They can be stand alone or be used alongside prescribed medicine. The proposal involves the use of the ground and first floor mainly for open plan office use but also for the creation of 12 interview rooms for counselling sessions.

In supporting the proposal, we successfully argued that the proposal to convert the building would not conflict with the Council's Spatial Vision, which includes a desire in Stafford Town to have ‘…exceptional levels of accessible community services and facilities…’. We argued that the proposal meets town centre policy which states that the town centre will support the Borough by strengthening the retail and service function of the primary retail core. In addition, the proposal meets the Council's policy by supporting the provision of new community uses in the Borough.

The proposal would be in-line with the mixed-use objectives of local and national policies and in line with the national objective for planning to promote social inclusion and have community facilities in accessible locations to promote healthy and sustainable communities.

In addition to the clear public benefit of the continued mental health services in the area, the proposed use has the added public benefit of being an appropriate and viable re-use of the building in a conservation area, compatible with the building’s character and having no adverse impact on the character or appearance of the Conservation Area.

Photo by © Etienne Godiard


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