Civic and health chiefs have lost £620,000 to set up a centre to help tackle local drug and alcohol misuse.

It comes after Weymouth and Portland Borough Council and Dorset County Council won funding amounting to £620,000 from Public Health England to buy and redevelop a property in Weymouth to help ensure local people suffering harm from the misuse of alcohol or other drugs receive the support they need.

Dorset County Council originally submitted plans for a centre in a former Abbotsbury Road B&B in November last year.

However, the plans were met with public opposition last year and scrapped while two other likely properties in the Dorchester Road area were abandoned and an offer to buy a third property was beaten by another bidder.

Ian Keasey, Health and Wellbeing Programme Manager at PHE South West, said: “PHE have worked closely with Dorset County Council in supporting the delivery of this ambitious project for a complex and vulnerable population in the local community and have been as flexible as we could to provide the best possible opportunity for success.

“Despite significant effort to succeed from all parties, sometimes projects do not progress as planned and we must take these opportunities to learn as much from these experiences and as we do when things go as intended.

“Unfortunately on this occasion it has not been possible to progress and complete the project locally within the extended time available, and PHE have to be mindful of the opportunities elsewhere to deploy these public resources for vulnerable and complex populations.”

Council Leader Jeff Cant stressed the importance of the facility saying that Dorset County Council should look to bringing the facility to a location in the county.

However, he added: “We don’t want Weymouth to become a magnet for more people who are suffering from drugs to come to the town, we have the vision to redevelop the town centre.

“Whilst I can see for a social sense for having these faculties, it is quite possible that it will have an impact on the community.”

As previously reported, borough councillors were told in June that the £620,000 grant which has been offered through Public Health Dorset for the integrated treatment facility was under threat after the issue was raised by Tophill West Councillor Penny McCarthy.

She said that a public perception that next to nothing was being done by the council although most drug and alcohol programmes were not in its remit.

Cllr McCarthy continued: “We should be more visible about what we are doing, this is a family resort yet all I’m seeing on social media is comments about people being drunk and injecting in the streets.”

The issue had also been highlighted after figures revealed that the number of drug deaths in the town had doubled in the space of 12 months with the figures showing that the town had a drug death rate of 12.7 per 100,000 people between 2015-17 in comparison with 2004-06 when the rate was 5.4.

Commenting on the funding loss, Cllr Cllr Steve Butler, Dorset County Council Cabinet member for Safeguarding, said:

“Despite an exhaustive search of properties in Weymouth & Portland (including proceeding to making an offer on two), we have not been able to find a site that is simultaneously available, affordable and acceptable to all parties.

“We therefore have to return the £620,000 funding to Public Health England.

“We are very disappointed that residents of Weymouth and Portland will now be unable to benefit from this resource at a time when public sector funding is being reduced.

“However, we are committed to working with WPBC and other partners to try to understand how we can continue to improve treatment in Weymouth without this resource, supporting people affected by substance misuse, including their friends and family and the wider community.”

Councillor Mike Byatt, briefholder for Community Safety at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council added that the council was still “firmly committed” to bringing a treatment centre to the town and stressed now that they needed to “press the case” to Public Health England for new funding for the centre.