Posted: Mon 2nd Oct 2023

Alyn and Deeside politicians urge Home Secretary not to appeal Flintshire hotel asylum plans

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Oct 2nd, 2023

Alyn and Deeside politicians Jack Sargeant MS and MP Mark Tami have called on the Home Secretary not to appeal plans to convert a Flintshire hotel into an asylum seekers hostel.

The plans to convert Northop Hall Hotel into a hostel for 400 asylum seekers were unanimously refused at a Flintshire Council planning committee last week.

The property owner, Payman Holdings 3 Ltd, had submitted the application for the conversion of the hotel. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌‌‌​‍‌​‌​‌‌​​‍‌​​‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​​​‌‌​‍‌​‌​‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​​‌‌​‍‌​‌‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​​‌‌​‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌​‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌​‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​‌​​‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​‌‌​​

Plans included the provision of 2-storey modular units on a former car park area adjacent to the hotel, aiming to form an accommodation centre for asylum seekers. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌‌‌​‍‌​‌​‌‌​​‍‌​​‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​​​‌‌​‍‌​‌​‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​​‌‌​‍‌​‌‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​​‌‌​‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌​‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌​‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​‌​​‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​‌‌​​

The main building would accommodate 156 occupants plus communal facilities whilst the 126 modular units would accommodate 252 occupants, giving a total of 408 occupants. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌‌‌​‍‌​‌​‌‌​​‍‌​​‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​​​‌‌​‍‌​‌​‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​​‌‌​‍‌​‌‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​​‌‌​‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌​‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌​‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​‌​​‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​‌‌​​

Flintshire Council’s chief planning officer, Andrew Farrow, said the development was inappropriate to the character of the site and its immediate and wider setting and “would significantly alter the character and appearance of the hotel as a Building of Local Interest and disrupt its local distinctiveness as a historic asset.” ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌‌‌​‍‌​‌​‌‌​​‍‌​​‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​​​‌‌​‍‌​‌​‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​​‌‌​‍‌​‌‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​​‌‌​‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌​‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌​‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​‌​​‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​‌‌​​

“The overall scale, siting and design of the proposed development will result in a detrimental impact upon the living conditions, amenity, and potentially the safety of the adjoining neighbouring residential properties as well as the living conditions of the occupants.” ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌‌‌​‍‌​‌​‌‌​​‍‌​​‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​​​‌‌​‍‌​‌​‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​​‌‌​‍‌​‌‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​​‌‌​‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌​‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌​‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​‌​​‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​‌‌​​

Jack Sargeant and Mark Tami have now written to the Home Secretary Suella Braverman asking that neither she nor her contracted accommodation provider appeal the decision.

‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌‌‌​‍‌​‌​‌‌​​‍‌​​‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​​​‌‌​‍‌​‌​‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​​‌‌​‍‌​‌‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​​‌‌​‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌​‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌​‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​‌​​‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​‌‌​​The two politicians wrote to the Planning Committee ahead of the decision outlining why they felt the application should be refused and were pleased to see that reflected in the decision.

They now want the UK Government to “listen to the Committee” and abandon their plans for the hotel.

Speaking after sending the letter Jack Sargeant and Mark Tami said:

“These proposals would have meant the loss of hotel accommodation in an area with a shortage and would have placed asylum seekers in a small community with a complete lack of support services.”

“The Home Secretary and her accommodation provider got this one wrong, and they shouldn’t appeal the decision of local Councillors on the Planning Committee.”

The letter states:

We write as constituency representatives of Alyn and Deeside. We noted with concern the decision of the Home Office to seek to utilise Northop Hall Hotel as accommodation for 400 people seeking asylum in the UK in an area with a current population of just 1,800.

We were particularly concerned about the lack of infrastructure and amenities in the local area to support such a large increase with limited transport options locally, and the only shop is a small village convenience store. We also raised concerns about the lack of specific services for asylum seekers, for example GPs, dentists, and other wellbeing support.

We were also concerned about the potential impact this could have on local future economic development due to the lack of hotel accommodation in Flintshire.

We welcome the decision by Flintshire County Council to refuse planning permission. Given the financial challenges faced by Local Authorities around the country as a result of UK Government austerity, and the significant cost pressures imposed as a result of inflation driven by this UK Government’s failed economic policies, we are asking that you do not seek to further increase these challenges by appealing the planning decision. To do so, we believe, would drag much needed resource away from local communities.

We finish by returning to the communities we represent in Alyn and Deeside. We strongly feel our communities should not face the uncertainty and economic disadvantage caused by an appeals process. Instead, the community should be allowed to grow and benefit from the economic development opportunities provided through a viable hotel business locally.

[Northop Hall Hotel sign photo: Laura Elizabeth/ Northop Hall Village Action Group] ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌‌‌​‍‌​‌​‌‌​​‍‌​​‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​​​‌‌​‍‌​‌​‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​​‌‌​‍‌​‌‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​​‌‌​‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌​‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌​‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​‌​​‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​‌‌​​

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