Berkshire

Slough pub plan below alcohol misuse centre sparks anger

The Turning Point Image copyright Google maps
Image caption The Turning Point substance misuse treatment is located in Maple House next to the planned new pub

Slough residents have voiced their opposition to a pub opening below an alcohol and drug treatment centre.

A lease for The Assembly is being offered in the High Street next to The Turning Point centre.

The site, which was vacant for several years in which time the centre opened, previously had a licence so does not need approval to reopen as a bar.

A former client at the centre has started a petition calling on the council to revoke the licence.

A Slough Borough Council spokesman said: "The building where Assembly is has been a drinking establishment for several years so it doesn't require a change of use.

Image copyright Star Pubs and Bars
Image caption Slough Borough Council said The Assembly was in an appropriate location

"Like other pubs and bars, the town centre is considered to be an appropriate location."

He added there was a pub opposite and off-licences nearby, and that "drop out rates" at the centre were improving.

But the former client, who wishes to remain anonymous, said it was the council that moved the treatment centre to its current premises three years ago.

He said: "Funding for drug and alcohol misuse has already been cut to next to nothing over the previous few years, and now this.

"I think this is a disgrace to Slough as a supposed community-led council."

A spokeswoman for Star Pubs & Bars, which owns The Assembly, said: "The site, which was previously a nightclub, has been advertised for the past 12 months but has received minimal interest to date.

"We have recently put some renewed effort into finding an operator who is prepared to join us in bringing the site back to life.

"As matters stand though, it is not certain when or if it will open again. We are committed to operating our pubs responsibly, and if the situation regarding the Assembly changes, we will of course share our plans with neighbours and the local council.

"We are very sensitive to the important work of the local treatment centre.

"However, the Assembly is in a popular town centre location alongside other pubs, restaurants and businesses and there has always been a possibility that the pub would reopen one day."

Turning Point said: "Recovery is a long process and there are many difficulties and temptations in day-to-day life.

"While it is not possible to remove access to alcohol, we focus on supporting individuals to make the right decisions around drug and alcohol use."

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