Northop Hall Hotel 400 bed asylum seeker hostel plans face council decision later this month
Plans to convert Northop Hall Hotel into a hostel for 400 asylum seekers will go before Flintshire County Council’s planning committee later this month.
The plans outline the proposed conversion of the hotel to accommodate 150 individuals within the existing building and the addition of modular units in the car park to house a further 250 people, all of whom will be single adult males.
The planning application seeks to convert the hotel to housing for asylum seekers for a period of up to seven years.
If approved, this development would result in a significant population increase of nearly 25% for Northop Hall, which currently has a population of just over 1,800.
Residents and politicians are strongly against the proposal arguing that the lack of adequate public transport, limited amenities such as a small convenience store and a single pub, no GP surgery or dentist and the absence of well-lit and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure would pose significant challenges.
Flintshire Council has been forced to amend its usual operating procedure for the planning committee meeting on September 27 due to the huge number of comments and letters of objection to the application, around 2000.
Considering the strong public response, spaces for the general public in the council chamber are limited.
The council has said priority will be given to those who have formally registered to voice their views on the applications under review.
In the interests of public safety, due to the anticipated turnout, there will be restricted access to County Hall’s parking facilities and building on the day.
In a statement on its website, the council said:
“Due to the number of comments received on the application: ‘Use of hotel and installation of modular accommodation for a temporary period of up to 7 years as AASC Initial Accommodation Hostel at Northop Hall Country House Hotel’ we are unable to follow our normal process of notification of the Planning Committee date and details of how to request to register to speak at the Committee. As an alternative, notification is by way of this statement.”
“The planning application will be considered at the hybrid Planning Committee meeting on 27th September commencing at 1pm in the Council Chamber, County Hall, Mold.”
“Spaces for members of the public are limited in the Council Chamber and therefore admittance to the Chamber on the day of committee will be prioritised to those who have registered to speak on the applications being reported to the committee.”
“The meeting will be livestreamed on the Flintshire County Council website and a copy of the footage from the meeting will be uploaded to the Council’s website thereafter.”
“Please note that this committee will hear an application that has generated a significant amount of public attention and in the interests of safety there will be limited access to County Hall car parks and building on the day of the committee. ”
“It is therefore suggested that you register to speak via the hybrid platform rather than attending in person or submit a written statement as detailed on the speaking at committee advice page.”
Members of the public who have submitted written comments on the application are encouraged to register to speak during the committee meeting.
However, the council states: “Anyone who has made written comments can request to speak at the committee, but we can only allow one person to speak in favour — usually the applicant or agent — and another against the proposal. A representative of the Town/Community Council can also register to speak.”
The planning committee will consider the application based solely on planning grounds.
Issues the planning committee can typically consider include overshadowing, privacy loss, loss of trees and ecological habitats, design, appearance, layout, highway safety, traffic, noise, and disturbance from the scheme.
Some of the issues the committee cannot normally consider include private covenants or agreements, the applicant’s personal conduct or history, the applicant’s motives, potential profit for the applicant or from the application, damage to property, and disruption during any construction phase.
The agenda for the planning committee meeting is yet to be published. This will detail the merits of the application and inform the planning committee whether the application should be approved or not.
Once the application has been scrutinised at the meeting, the planning committee, composed of County Councillors, will vote on the application.
If the plans are rejected, the applicant is likely to begin an appeal phase.
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