RESIDENTS are voicing objections to plans to increase the age range of patients at a residential home for young people with mental illness at the Briars Hey site in Rainhill.

Elysium Healthcare, who bought out previous owners Raphael Healthcare, are set to open Crossley Manor School in September and have applied for permission to increase the age range of patients up to 25, with an application submitted to St Helens Council on June 30.

Raphael had received numerous planning permissions over the years to adapt buildings at the site, close to Tower College School.

In 2013 plans for a secure mental hospital at the grade II listed building sparked objections but residents say their fears were allayed after being told the facility was to be for girls with eating disorders.

However, residents claim the area was plagued by anti-social behaviour while the facility was open.

Ian Brown, who lives on nearby Stonecross Drive, said to the Star: "The then owners stated to local residents that the development was to house bulimic girls, which nobody with any decency would vote against.

"In reality, when opened, the establishment housed out of control, pre-jail youths.

"During the short period that it was open with juveniles there was inadequate control with the said inmates or patients hanging around at the front of the building abusing and threatening violence to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists on Mill Lane."

Ian, 47, added: "There was no control over them. When calls were made to the centre to report these incidents they were unanswered. The police attended the centre almost daily dealing with threats, damage to property, violence, rooftop demonstrations and absconds.

"Increasing the age range will undoubtedly increase the potential for further trouble, especially if the unit is to remain as a non-secure unit."

Another resident added: "Clearly this is significantly more than just a 'paper exercise' as it brings a completely different category of residents.

"Why are they advertising it as a school whilst applying for change of age group to 25? Where are their referrals from?"

On its website Elysium says it provides a "full care pathway for men and women in medium and low secure care" and "treatment and rehabilitation for people who may be exhibiting dangerous and/or challenging behaviour due to the severity of their mental illness". It adds "patients may also be referred from the prison service".

When asked for comment, Elysium said in a statement: "Crossley Manor School will be opening in September 2017 to provide day and residential schooling for children with complex needs.

"The age range of pupils is from five to 19 years old. In some cases children are not ready to leave education at 19 years old and in these cases we would like to ensure that they can remain with us until the time is right for them to move on.

It added: "We also intend to open a children's home. The option to have care extended to 25 years enables us to ensure that children who are not ready to leave and live on their own can stay longer to mature and acquire the skills they need in adulthood."

An open event has been organised for residents to attend to discuss the plans on Thursday (July 20) from 5pm to 7pm. People can call 0151 4269808 or email for more information on the meeting.