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Solna hotel becomes rehab hostel

Girls schools and locals say no, no, no

Written by . Published on December 11th 2012.

Solna hotel becomes rehab hostel

The go ahead was given today for the Solna Hotel in Liverpool's Sefton Park to be converted into a rehab and detox centre for alcoholics.

The city council's Planning Committee approved the plans despite strong opposition from local residents and two of the local girls’ high schools, St Hilda's and Bellerive.

The application was backed by Assistant Mayor Roz Gladden who is also the council's Cabinet Member for Adult Services. She said Mayor Joe Anderson was also supportive.

Two of the local councillors, Green members Sarah Jennings and John Coyne, also backed the scheme.

The battle of the Solna, closed as a hotel for over a year,  centred on whether a Victoria villa on the perimeter road of one of the country's most famous parks is a suitable location for a rehab centre for alcoholics.

 Applicants Transforming Choice, a newly established community interest company, will take residental and day clients referred by GPs, the NHS as well as other agencies such as the Probation Service.

Co-director Carol Hammett, who has worked as a qualified counsellor in the city for some years, says she is confident the management protocols will be a trendsetter in the way people with drink problems are helped.  Clients will all be carefully assessed and have to sign a behavioural agreement.

“We’ll have people coming to the Solna from all over the country to see how we operate,” she predicted.


The committee have given temporary consent for 12 months, with a number of strings attached.

Cllr Gladden said: “Currently we have to send people with drink problems to facilities hundreds of miles away. I welcome this centre and the people running it know they themselves are on probation for a year.”

Objectors were not reassured. Paul Taylor, deputy head of Bellerive College in Ullet Road, told the committee: “As a school we are strongly opposed to this. I am responsible for the pastoral care of 900 girls aged 11 to 18.”

Happier timesHappier timesHe told the committee he had once stood in the same spot in the council chamber, opposing a plan for a centre for ex-offenders, and he had been forced to call the police on a number of occasions.

“We see problems if this is approved,” he told councillors.

The manager of the nearby Alicia Hotel, now operated by Best Western, also objected, describing the park as a major tourist attraction.

Ex Lord Mayor and one time city councillor Frank Doran lodged an objection, telling the committee:  “You should consider the impact this place will have on people who have to live in the area.”

A procession of local residents objected, but the committee members unanimously backed the plans.

The centre is expected to open early in the new year. Transforming Choice will initially rent the former hotel, but director Ms Hammett says the company eventually hope to purchase the building outright.

The aim is to have beds in the centre sponsored, with other income generated by fees from referring agencies.

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32 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AlexDecember 11th 2012.

Wonderful news. It's much needed as these services are few and far between in Liverpool

AnonymousDecember 11th 2012.

These facilities may well be much needed, but I cannot see how using a holistic approach to a severe medical problem can be beneficial. If this really works why do the nhs bother with medical experts? Furthermore, specially trained safeguarding officers are saying their schoolgirls are being put at risk, that's irresponsible! Addiction sufferers help, but in the right place, and without risking the safety if others!!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 12th 2012.

safeguarding is about being risk adverse, their views are almost certainly worst case. not to mention covering their own backs by objecting just to be sure they cant be blamed in future is something does happen.

Sefton ParkerDecember 12th 2012.

Sefton Park's been skidding downmarket for years.

miekoDecember 12th 2012.

Typical of this shambles of a Council and Mayor, ignoring the opinions of residents, local businesses and schools whilst yet again steam-rolling their own plans and agenda through. Yes these services are desperately needed, one just only needs to look at the impact at alcoholism in the city but this area has enough problems with the drunks, drug users and dealers who hang around the park and Lark Lane

Park DriveDecember 12th 2012.

Where do you suggest they put these facilities?

Leon KayDecember 12th 2012.

They all ready have a rehab hostel in Sefton Park smelling of urine the alcholics get drunk during the day and then piss the bed at night, lovely.Whats the point of another facility.Mind you having said that the Solna wasn't much kop as hotel when it was a hotel.Put this rehab centre in Kensington where they dumped evrybody else and where nobody lives around the sefton park area there is drug centres alcholics centres batterd wives centres keep up the good work Joe and co you morons.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Paul WardDecember 12th 2012.

Moronic comment. Having visited a friend at the Windsor Clinic I can say that the facilities were immaculate, the patients well behaved - and from a surprising range of backgrounds. The image of a dump full of winos is very wrong.

AnonymousDecember 12th 2012.

The Windsor clinic is entirely different. It's a tried and tested model run by the nhs at the university hospital. It is regulated heavily. This is a new model, run by medically unqualified people.

AnonymousDecember 12th 2012.

Alcoholism is a huge problem, and a disease, alcoholics are not bad people they are just like all the rest of us except they need help. There is no reason why this hostel should not be here rather than some other location in the city, the objectors are just nimbys. Such snoby and parochial attitudes to people we should be helping are disgusting and I would question whether given the extreme stance taken the deputy head of belrive is the right person to have a hand in the moral education of 900 young women given he holds such uncaring and ill considered views.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 12th 2012.

Sefton park has 3 alcoholic hostel, nearby off licenses and drinking dens and an asb problem. Alcohol addiction sufferers need to be removed from their alcohol lives and away from temptation, not into it. Your comments about the schools officer are disgraceful. People suffering addiction, to alcohol behave in uncharacteristic ways, and alcohol is known to induce violence. From what iv seen, this centre uses a new, untested model to deal with such problems, if it goes wrong there will be school girls, young families, elderly and many more around to pay the price.

AnonymousDecember 13th 2012.

I just dont understand why people feel the need to paint alcoholics as being dangerous to society. its a horible short sighted blanket mentality. shame on you.

AnonymousDecember 15th 2012.

No one painted them as anything. They are in a vulnerable state and can behave uncharacteristically, furthermore alcohol is known to induce violent behaviour. people detoxin are even more unpredictable. Detox is a specialised medical treatment, not one to be undertaken by unqualified ppl using an experimental model.t he centre is accepting prison and probation referrals, ie go here and we will release you/reduce your sentence. If you do your research a recent booklet regarding the opening of centres for alcohol addiction, written by drugscope, lists locations near to schools, playgrounds and residential areas are inappropriate, this location is next to two schools, one of the busiest playgrounds in the area and a highly residential area.

AnonymousDecember 12th 2012.

What is the point of a public meeting is the powers that be have already made up their mind. There are already various charities based in the city centre doing a brilliant job to help people with addiction - right on the door step of where the need is. This application should have been considered in the wider context of existing addiction services and the granting of it will only stretch already small funding pots even more thinly - how can this benefit those in need of help with their addictions?

AnonymousDecember 13th 2012.

"...batterd wives centres..." (sic)

How anyone can object to a domestic violence refuge is beyond me.

CarlaDecember 13th 2012.

I think this is a fantastic move-great that it's been passed. Liverpool & the local area need more units like this...gutted to read the people who are against this...the people that will be using the unit will want to positivley change their lives and behaviour and this should be celebrated not looked down on!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 15th 2012.

I doubt anyone would argue people suffering addiction need help. However, this centre intends to operate an experimental model, they are testing it on vulnerable people. They have no medically qualified staff, detox can be dangerous, (ie deadly!) and little experience in this area themselves. This is a money making scheme targeting the recently allocated funding for alcoholism and exploits some of society's most vulnerable. Disgraceful

AnonymousDecember 14th 2012.

This will end in an independent inquiry. There is something deeply disturbing about the decision in the face of 400 objectors including the schools.

AnonymousDecember 15th 2012.

There is a lot more behind this than meets the eye.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 15th 2012.

Has to be more than what's contained in this useless post?

Sefton ParkerJuly 28th 2013.

Interesting article on this on page 13 of the latest Private Eye including the involvement of shady characters who supply booze and have spent time in prison...

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Lily the PinkJuly 28th 2013.

Shady characters like Liverpool City Council who have recently sanctioned all day drinking in the park opposite. Putting temptation in the way of a troubled soul is hardly the brightest idea they could have come up with.

AnonymousJuly 31st 2013.

it really isn't!! The council seem to be confused as to what they want for sefton park, either its the peaceful sanctuary for recovering alcoholics or the party ground for festivals, cant be both!!!

AnonymousJuly 29th 2013.

This is insanity!! How come it has taken so long for this tangled web to come to light???? An alcohol centre, owned by a a seller of alcohol, right by where they run many festivals and events involving alcohol, by two schools, in a residential area by a playground.... should have guessed really...

AnonymousJuly 30th 2013.

If it was Re-hab for a bunch of our beloved celebrities trying to deal with their alcohol problem, I expect the reaction would be less negative and we would all feel for them and say what a shame it is.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Sefton ParkerJuly 30th 2013.

If it were it would be in Berkshire or that London.

Amos NonymousJuly 31st 2013.

Not the desolate North East, where no body gives a "frack"

Jane CSeptember 21st 2013.

Is it still open? From the front it looked derelict; all overgrown etc. Just wondered

AnonymousJuly 20th 2014.

There's money to be made here...shady!

AnonymousSeptember 11th 2014.

one day it could be you or a member of your family that could end up with a drink problem. Shame on all of you for the negative comments.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 11th 2014.

What, are you judging the judgemental?

AnonymousSeptember 11th 2014.

Did I say I was against re-hab?..no..actually I have friends in recovery...what is in question here in the company that runs the Solna..they receive £1500 per person, per week. These guys are pawns, a valuable commodity...and actually its well known that they used to stash the booze in the bushes and come outside to drink it....thats really helping them isnt it... proper rehab for people that want to get well is great....this is about making money

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