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Trust axeing Southend health centre after 8 years
A MENTAL health and rehabilitation centre in the heart of Southend will be closed.
South Essex Partnership Trust plans to scrap the base at the Taylor Centre in Queensway House, Essex Street.
Admin staff have already started moving to new office buildings at Rochford Hospital. More than 100 people are employed at the centre, but it is not known if any jobs are under threat.
Opened in 2003, the centre was named after former Southend Conservative MP Sir Teddy Taylor and helps people recovering from drink and drugs problems.
Bosses say the lease on the building, owned by Southend Council, is too high to keep it open.
Sally Morris, executive director of operations for the trust, said: “The Taylor Centre is an expensive lease. Unfortunately, it has been decided it is one we cannot afford to continue.”
The trust first announced it was considering getting rid of the Taylor Centre last November, as part of multi-million pound cost-cutting measures.
Although not as badly affected by the Government cutbacks as NHS South East and South West Essex, which need to save tens of millions of pounds, the trust is still under pressure to reduce its expenditure.
Although bosses say they do not plan to scrap any of the services based at the centre, they could not guarantee they would be kept in the town centre.
A date has not yet been set for the move. But there is believed to be a clause in the lease which would allow it to take place in December.
Ms Morris said: “We are in the process of looking for alternative locations, and we hope to keep those as close to the centre as possible.
“We’re aware one of the main benefits of the centre is its location and easy access, so that is something we hope to maintain.”
Sir Teddy, who served Southend as an MP for 26 years, said: “I think it is a real shame.
“I know the good work which went on in that building and I was always happy to visit.
“Having said that, I know the pressure the health service is under. I support it fully in doing what it has to do.”