FAMILIES protesting against plans for a psychiatric unit on their doorsteps took their battle to the streets.
More than 50 residents of Rastrick Common and surrounding areas held placards and protested outside the site of the former Ivy House Nursing Home this morning from 7.30am.
The site is currently being converted for use into a community rehabilitation-based treatment unit by private company Cygnet Health Care.
Sharon Kerrigan, chair of the Rastrick Parents' and Community Organisation, said everyone in the area was against the plans.
She added: "We have asked for an irrevocable, legally-binding guarantee that sex offenders and drug addicts won't be housed here and we have been told that Cygnet can't promise that."
Ms Kerrigan said the first residents knew of the plan was an application to change the terms of the nursing home's use just before Easter.
She added: "It's worrying that we weren't told about it until it happened. We have had no consultation."
Ms Kerrigan, who has two children aged four and six, added: "We realise that these places have got to open but there's right and wrong areas.
"For example the protest here today has seen police diverting some traffic because of how busy the road is. This area is not suitable.
"What if there are recovering alcoholics - the site's right next to a pub?
"It just isn't the right place."
Vice chair of the association Julian Nutchey said the area was filled with families with young children.
The bank manager and dad-of-two said: "I don't think this area is suitable for sex-offenders.
"The residents here are worried about the type of person in there and also what if they abscond?
"The other issue is the location for the patients - it's not right for them.
"They are right next to a pub and they will overlook family homes and gardens."
Cygnet regional director Alison Ireland said the company had attempted to communicate with local people and explain the nature of the development.
She added: "They have not taken us up on the offer of communication.
"We are intent on working with the local community as we have done with other locations.
"The unit is going to be community based rehabilitation. It will be for low-risk patients and we have offered an undertaking that we will exclude the particular client groups the residents are worried about such as registered sex offenders and heavy drug users."
Ms Ireland said the unit would treat people with long-term mental health issues, such as schizophrenia.
She also said there was a proportion of the local community who simply didn't want any sort of development there.