Expansion plans for a mental health clinic near Bury St Edmunds have been submitted in response to an "incredibly high" demand for places.

The new planning application for the Chimneys Clinic at New Road, Rougham, is for a purpose-built accommodation wing, which would provide beds for an additional 12 residents and extra amenity space.

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".

The planning application, by Montpelier Estates Ltd, replaces one that was approved by West Suffolk Council in March 2021 for a similar scheme as Elysium Healthcare Ltd wants to make some revisions that could not be secured by varying the existing permission.

It wants to reposition the proposed accommodation block from along the southern boundary of the site to along the northern boundary and amend the amenity space provision.

A planning statement, issued in February 2022, said Elysium is "acutely aware of the specialist care that they offer and demand for places is incredibly high".

It said: "The service currently has eight patients, with a further seven on the waiting list.

"In effect, this is three patients waiting for beds that do not exist. This clearly illustrates the demand for services of this nature within the region, and the importance of expanding provision at the Chimneys as quickly as possible.

"All this in a situation where the site has only been open since 2020."

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)."

The statement said about 25,000 people in Suffolk are thought to have an eating disorder and most people do not seek medical help.

The Chimneys aims to take regional patients before out-of-area placements, it said.

The plans also include ancillary accommodation and alterations to the existing car park. The number of spaces remains as previously approved: 25 in total, including three accessible bays.

At ground floor the single-storey link blocks will join the new accommodation, the existing house and therapy rooms together whilst also providing additional amenity space including a quiet room and assisted bath.

A new lounge and dining room will be provided in a single-storey extension to the existing building - following demolition of the existing rear conservatory - together with a new kitchen and main entrance area.

Currently, there are 19 staff over a 24-hour period, but this would increase to 31.

Elysium Healthcare purchased the building in December 2018.