Posted: Fri 22nd Sep 2023

Council to close main County Hall car park ahead of crucial Northop Hall asylum hostel planning meeting

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Sep 22nd, 2023

Flintshire County Council’s Planning Committee is gearing up for a pivotal meeting on Wednesday (September 27) that has prompted special arrangements at County Hall in Mold, due to the high public interest.

The core agenda for the committee’s meeting is the examination of an application proposing the transformation of Northop Hall Country House Hotel into a hostel for 400 asylum seekers.

Owing to the significance of the meeting, the Main Entrance car park of County Hall will be off-limits ahead of the meeting.

Instead, attendees and the general public are guided to use the tiered car park, where charges have been waived for the day. Directional signs will be placed to assist visitors.

Disabled parking will be adjacent to the main building and clearly signed. Please follow the signs that will be in place.

Special parking arrangements are also in place for disabled visitors, adjacent to the main building.

In light of the anticipated high turnout, the Flintshire Council is encouraging members of the public to tap into the live streaming option available online.

For those keen on attending in person, limited seating will be available in the Council Chamber, with additional spaces in the Alyn and Deeside room, where the meeting will also be live-streamed.

Those wishing to give representations at the meeting must be registered in advance.

Additionally, attendees are reminded of a stringent no filming or photography policy inside the Council Chamber, the local authority has said.

Andrew Farrow, Chief Officer (Planning, Environment & Economy) for Flintshire County Council, commented on the upcoming meeting, ”

“There will be several alternative arrangements at County Hall on Wednesday to ensure that the Panning Committee meeting goes ahead safely and efficiently.

“We are aware that there is a lot of public interest in this planning application and we will try to accommodate as many members of the public as possible on site, but I strongly encourage people to watch the meeting online as there is limited space in the building.

“If you are attending, seating will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Please arrive with enough time to get seated as the meeting will start promptly at 1pm.”

Mr Farrow is advising councillors to refuse planning permission, in a report published ahead of the meeting, he said: “The development is considered to be 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.” ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌‌‌​‍‌​‌​‌‌​​‍‌​​‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​​​‌‌​‍‌​‌​‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​​‌‌​‍‌​‌‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​​‌‌​‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌​‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌​‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​‌​​‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​‌‌​​

Nearly 2,600 letters of objection were received about the plans covering a broad spectrum of concerns.

Among them is the belief that the proposed modular units offer unsuitable and ‘inhumane’ accommodation for asylum seekers, potentially affecting their mental health and overall wellbeing ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌‌‌​‍‌​‌​‌‌​​‍‌​​‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​​​‌‌​‍‌​‌​‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​​‌‌​‍‌​‌‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​​‌‌​‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌​‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌​‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​‌​​‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​‌‌​​

With healthcare already stretched in Flintshire, critics worry that a sudden influx of asylum seekers could strain resources further, hampering access for existing residents. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌‌‌​‍‌​‌​‌‌​​‍‌​​‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​​​‌‌​‍‌​‌​‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​​‌‌​‍‌​‌‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​​‌‌​‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌​‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌​‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​‌​​‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​‌‌​​

The proposal, critics argue, could disrupt community cohesion and strain local resources due to a disproportionate increase in the population. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌‌‌​‍‌​‌​‌‌​​‍‌​​‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​​​‌‌​‍‌​‌​‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​​‌‌​‍‌​‌‌‌‌‌​‍‌​​​‌‌​‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌​‌​‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌‌‍‌​​‌​‌‌​‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​‌​​‌‍‌​​‌‌​‌​‍‌​​​‌‌​​

The Council has assured that the entire proceedings will be made available on the Flintshire County Council website, ensuring that residents can access the footage shortly after the meeting concludes.

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