Asylum motel to be closed down
By Roddy AshworthA PLAN to continue running a former village motel as a hostel for homeless people and asylum seekers was thrown out last night after residents mounted a campaign to block it.
By Roddy Ashworth
A PLAN to continue running a former village motel as a hostel for homeless people and asylum seekers was thrown out last night after residents mounted a campaign to block it.
Tendring District Council granted permission in 2002 for Silverwoods in Thorrington - the former Silver Springs Motel - to temporarily operate as a hostel for disadvantaged people for two years.
The 32-chalet site on Tenpenny Hill has capacity for 125 people, but has generally housed about 60 at a time, some of whom stayed there for more than a year.
When the two-year period has expired, the site's owner, Nelson Housing Ltd, applied to run it as a hostel permanently.
But residents claimed there had been numerous problems since the motel's status was changed and a petition of 46 signatures, as well as 30 letters, objecting to the proposal were handed to the council.
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In a report before the council's development control committee last night, the authority's assistant chief executive, Roger Stewart, highlighted some of the issues.
“The local planning authority has received significant written evidence of anti-social behaviour causing disruption and harm to the residential amenities of other residents living in the locality of the site and which those other residents should be, and would otherwise be, entitled to enjoy in a rural area,” he said.
“The harm identified includes matters such as thefts, trespass, verbal and physical abuse, graffiti, vandalism, noise, litter, fires, drugs, broken-down cars on site, litter and genuine fear.
“Despite the rules which were intended to prevent such an impact occurring, it appears that the impact and harm are directly and solely attributable to those using the hostel accommodation at the site.
“On balance, the local planning authority gives credence and weight to this written evidence and also finds it compelling.”
Speaking at the meeting, Thorrington parish councillor, Charles Braithwaite, said: “There still seems to be a large amount of disturbance. Local businesses are continually reporting nuisances. We are asking quite categorically that planning permission should be refused.”
Councillors unanimously voted to refuse permission and agreed to allow a four-month period for people living at the hostel to be relocated.
No-one from Nelson Housing Ltd could be contacted for comment last night.