A NEW mental health unit and multi-storey car park will be built at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.
Denbighshire County Council’s planning committee granted Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board permission to build an adult and older persons’ mental health unit at the hospital on Rhuddlan Road, Bodelwyddan.
The health board will now build the new unit and multi-storey on two plots of land, both currently used as car parks on hospital grounds.
The purpose-built mental health unit will provide a replacement for the existing Ablett Unit.
At a planning committee meeting at Denbighshire’s County Hall HQ, councillors voted 18 for to one against in favour of the application.
Cllr John Harland was the only councillor who voted against the plans.
Cllr Harland proposed the committee refused the application, insisting such a unit would be better in a busy town centre such as Rhyl or Colwyn Bay, rather than encouraging people to drive miles and damage the environment.
“On behalf of the green group, I have concerns about this application, not on the grounds of any building technicalities or need but because this is a further expansion by the health board of its facilities at an isolated location within Denbighshire,” he said.
“The Ysbyty Glan Clwyd site was first developed in the 1970s at a time when the priorities of society were somewhat different to now. In current times the residue of fossil fuel use of times gone by is sitting above us warming our planet with no sign of slowing down as the ground temperature rises.”
He added: “It’s miles away from where most of the population of Denbighshire lives.”
But several councillors disagreed, insisting mental health services were badly needed following Covid.
Cllr Chris Evans has been open about his mental health struggles and argued the facility was badly needed.
“I agree with John (Cllr Harland) to a point that not having the transport links is an issue, and we need to work together as a council,” he said.
“But we also need to work together as a council to support this much-needed facility in Denbighshire.
“Everybody knows about my battles with mental health, and I’m a big advocate for mental health.
“The Ablett Ward is not fit for purpose, and I know people that have been through the system. It does not work.”
He added: “Like Huw (Cllr Hilditch-Roberts) says, let’s get something together that can make it a one-stop shop for mental health.”
The new unit will provide a 59-bed modern, purpose-built facility as part of a two-storey and part three-storey structure built at the northwestern corner of the hospital’s campus.
The existing Ablett Unit buildings will be retained to be re-purposed for administrative functions currently accommodated elsewhere within the hospital.
The new multi-storey will replace a surface level car park on the northeastern corner of the campus, providing three levels of parking and replacing the spaces lost to the new unit – as well as increasing parking provision overall at the hospital.