RESIDENTS are being conned over a secure rehabilitation facility for men with mental health problems in Wrexham, a councillor claims.

Cllr Marc Jones says Ty Grosvenor - which is due to accept its first patients in April - should not open without the relevant planning permission for a secure unit

The Plaid Cymru councillor, who represents Grosvenor ward on Wrexham Council, said: "Local residents will rightly feel conned because they've been kept in the dark over this development.

"My inquiries with council officers suggest they were also unaware of the secure rehab element. It's just not good enough for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, private firms and other agencies to continually ignore local concerns in this area."

He says the development received permission in 2016 when he understood there was an application for the site as a dementia unit.

The building has since been sold to Montpelier Estates, who obtained permission for a care home and built the unit for Elysium Healthcare.

"It now transpires that it will be a secure rehabilitation hospital for 34 men aged 18-65 with psychiatric issues such as schizophrenia and psychosis," added Cllr Jones.

"Many will have been self-medicating with illegal drugs and have been in secure units such as Heddfan. There is clearly a need for such units but I have to question whether the location is suitable both for the patients it will house and local residents."

The councillor added that the unit's manager told him patients would not be allowed out unsupervised until they are deemed fit.

But Cllr Jones was unsure Elysium Heathcare understood the area's sensitivity, adding: "Vulnerable patients could be targeted by drug dealers locally, who will doubtless see this as a new potential market, and there is a likelihood of patients absconding.

"Yet again, we're seeing an over-concentration of services in a very small ward close to residential areas. and this is having a huge impact on local people's well-being.

"Referrals to this new hospital will be coming from Betsi Cadwaladr health board and other health trusts, I'm told. I'd like to know to what extent this will cater for Wrexham residents, the wider north Wales region or beyond.

"My concern is that the Grosvenor Road area and Rhosddu is, once again, being seen as a dumping ground." without regard for either the people receiving treatment or local residents.

"The fact that local residents - including myself - have been kept in the dark is deeply worrying.

Since learning of the change of use, Cllr Jones has raised the issue with Wrexham Council and the health board.

He added: "It's clear from officers' recommendations back in 2016 that the original planning application was not intended to be for this clientele."

Elysium Healthcare stresses Ty Grosvenor is a rehabilitation service and not a secure hospital and there is a need for such a facility to give local people the chance to recover from mental health problems close to home.

A spokesman said: "Often, people receive care a long way from where they live and this can affect people’s ability in terms of their onward recovery and wellbeing.

"Ty Grosvenor will give local people the potential to continue with their mental health recovery in a community facing setting where they can be fully supported by us and by their families."

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board says it currently uses providers from outside of North Wales to meet a shortfall in low secure and locked rehabilitation beds, which can be unsettling for patients.

Director of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities, Andy Roach, said: "We will consider using potential providers who can provide care closer to a patient’s home if they are able to meet the individual patient’s needs. Any provider would be subject to stringent quality assurance from the Health Board.

"While we have advised on the need for facilities such as Ty Grosvenor in North Wales, we have had no input or responsibility for advising on aspects of the planning application relating to its location.”