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July 29, 2010

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Neighbors angry at mental hospital plans

A NOTICE announcing an expansion to the Putuo District Mental Health Center has angered residents in a nearby complex who fear the plans will mean more patients and more noise.

Some residents at the Ganquan Complex, just meters away from the center, put out banners across their balconies in protest, but the health center's management said there would be no change to the plans.

In response to the complaints, officials with the center said they would install window blinds to prevent patients looking out at the nearby buildings and they would also install sound-proofing to deal with the noise created when some patients got too excited and began shouting.

An official, surnamed Wang, said residents didn't have to worry as the expansion would not bring more patients but was only aimed at improving the center's services and facilities.

Wang said the center, built in 1987 to cater for 600 mental patients, faced problems with aging facilities and services failing to catch up with the latest technology.

The expansion plan has been approved by Putuo Heath Bureau and Putuo Development and Reform Commission.

Some residents complained to the Ganquan Road Neighborhood Committee that the center was too close to their complex, but an official with the committee, surnamed Tong, said there were no regulations governing the distance between mental hospitals and residential buildings.

"The residential buildings were built several years after the center was in place," said Wang.

Meanwhile, the Putuo District housing authority is to investigate whether the residential building next to the center is illegal.

Wang said the building is very close to a high voltage wire and he believed the complaints about the center were a bid to gain compensation so they could be relocated.


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