Plans to house 400 asylum seekers in tiny Welsh village of just 1,500 people are branded ‘wholly unsuitable’
Plans to house up to 400 asylum seekers in a tiny Welsh village were criticised as ‘wholly unsuitable’ last night.
The proposals would see around 150 ‘predominantly male’ refugees put up in a disused country house hotel, in Northop Hall, north Wales.
Another 250 would be housed in ‘modular accommodation’ in its grounds.
Those living in the village, which has just 1,500 residents, claim the asylum seekers would almost double the adult population overnight and local services could not cope.
Referring to the angry protests outside a hotel in Knowsley, Merseyside, last month, local Tory MP Rob Roberts urged villagers to remain calm in the face of the proposals.
The proposals would see around 150 ‘predominantly male’ refugees put up in a disused country house hotel, in Northop Hall, north Wales (file image of Northop Hall in north Wales)
He said he had already voiced his ‘deep concerns’ to immigration minister Robert Jenrick and would do all he could to stop the application, by owner Payman Holdings 3 Ltd.
‘There is no need for things to turn into scenes we have seen elsewhere in the country,’ Mr Roberts said. ‘We shouldn’t get caught up in personalities or talking about the people themselves.
‘But regardless of their personal circumstances, Northop Hall is wholly unsuitable for a place like this.
‘There are virtually no public transport services. One small shop. One pub. No capacity in schools. No capacity in GPs. No capacity in dentists. No capacity in local A&E and other health services.
‘The village is a mix of young families and elderly communities. Increasing the population of a village like this by about 35 per cent, and with predominantly males, is simply not a viable plan.’
The 37-bedroom Northop Hall Country House Hotel closed without notice during the first Covid lockdown, leaving a trail of unhappy creditors and brides who had booked weddings at the luxury venue.
Set in nine acres of private woodland and secluded gardens, it is nicknamed Chequers, after the Prime Minister’s country residence, by locals.
Payman Holdings 3 Ltd have launched a public consultation on the proposals, ahead of a full planning application being made to Flintshire Council. Residents have until next month (April 4) to submit their comments.
One resident, who didn’t wish to be named and lives next door to the hotel, said she would not feel safe in her community if the plans were green-lighted.
‘These men will be housed in storage containers stacked in the car park, with another 150 inside a 37-bed hotel,’ she said.
‘Our village will increase by 50 per cent overnight and these men, as much as I feel sympathy for their plight, will have nothing to do while they are here.
‘They will be able to wander around the village and surrounding areas. They will be added to our already straining health service, and won’t be able to find work as they have not yet been processed by the Home Office.’
In a joint statement, Northop Councillors Marion Bateman and Linda Thew said: ‘The scale of this development is excessive.
‘The proposals would totally overwhelm our village, we have some 1,100 adults in the village at present, our population will therefore increase by approximately 50 per cent.
‘It would have a significant and unacceptable impact on the wellbeing, safety, and amenity of the residents.’