Expansion of a mental health clinic near Bury St Edmunds in response to an "incredibly high" demand for places has been given the go-ahead.

Planners were told of a growing demand for the services offered by the Chimneys Clinic at New Road, Rougham.

The project approved by West Suffolk Council will see a new purpose-built accommodation wing, which will provide beds for an additional 12 residents and extra amenity space, including a quiet room and assisted bath, and a new lounge and dining room.

The clinic, which is operated by Elysium Healthcare Ltd, currently offers a 12-bed
rehabilitation service specifically designed to support women who have a diagnosis of a Personality Disorder, with or without disordered eating or high functioning Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

A design and access statement with the application said "the therapeutic environment aids recovery for each individual".

Planning case officer Amy Murray said: "The most significant element of this proposal is the 12-bed accommodation block which has been designed to meet the clinical needs of the site, whilst incorporating materials and features to reflect a typical rural outbuilding/barn.

"That being said, the accommodation block is significant in scale and bulk when compared to the existing buildings and appears somewhat out of proportion in terms of scale when viewing the north and south elevational plans."

However, she was confident any impact would be mitigated by the limited views of the proposed building and significant existing landscaping.

The planning application, by Montpelier Estates Ltd, replaced one approved last year for a similar scheme as Elysium Healthcare Ltd wanted to reposition the proposed accommodation block and amend the amenity space provision.

A planning statement said Elysium is "acutely aware of the specialist care that they offer and demand for places is incredibly high".

It said an integral part of the Chimneys' offer is that it can accommodate individuals who might require intermittent nasogastric (NG) feeding as part of their care plan.

"This makes the service very distinctive with limited comparable facilities locally or indeed nationally," it said. "The requirement for service provision for this particular patient group is growing across England, particularly for those younger people transitioning out of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)."