Northamptonshire Section 136 Review

Client: Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Location: Northampton & Kettering

Area: 400sqm

Value: £600,000

Procurement: Traditional (PFI Variation)

Historically, Fleet have worked a wide range of mental health settings and have established ongoing relationships with a number of Trusts such as Northants. We were engaged by the Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to review their county wide provision for Section 136, Place of Safety Assessment Suites.

Section 136 (s136) will be used if a police officer believes that a person has a mental illness, and that there is an immediate need for ‘care or control’.  The design of space to assess such person is referred to a as a place of safety or an assessment suite.  As with all aspects of designing for mental health environments, the provision of natural light, space, colours, temperature and air quality all impact the experience and ultimately the therapeutic benefit, or not, imparted.  Safety is also critical, and every effort must be made to ensure safety without risking the environment becoming oppressive or appearing penal.

Currently the Trust is commissioned to provide 2 sites, St Mary’s in the Kettering, to the NorthEast of the County, and Berrywood Hospital, to the Southwest.  The project initially sought to evaluate the capacity to expand or accommodate both of the assessment suites on the Berrywood site while also exploring options to improve the facilities provided if the two locations were to be retained.

The outcome of the initial study led to designs to be developed which increased the size of both suites on the 2 sites, provide en-suite shower rooms and, most critically, access to secure outside space.

Fleet Architects