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Victory for city’s residents in hostel appeal

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May 7, 2003, Wednesday Edition 1

Birmingham Post

BYLINE: By Peter Young, The Evening Chronicle

Families have won a battle to stop another hostel for asylum seekers opening in a residential neighbourhood. A Government inspector dismissed an appeal by the Angel Group against a decision by Newcastle City Council to refuse planning permission for the venture. There was relief today from residents’ representatives, who had opposed the plan to convert two semi-detached homes at 1 and 2 Bentinck Villas, Bentinck Road, in the city’s West End. One of the main objections was that numbers of hostels of different types in the locality has reached saturation point. Local councillor Nigel Todd said: “It’s a very welcome breakthrough in terms of planning policy.” The Angel Group, which is behind the project and already has an asylum hostel in former nurses’ homes in Westgate Road, says it will now discuss alternative uses for the Bentinck Villas property with the council. They had wanted to turn the property, a former residential care home, into a 34-bed hostel or into two houses in multiple occupation. At the planning appeal, several woman said they felt intimidated by groups of young male asylum seekers hanging around the streets and residents were concerned about noise and disturbance. They were supported by the city council, which said the project would harm the character of the area and its policy was to integrate asylum seekers in traditional housing. The Planning Inspectorate hearing was conducted by inspector Kathleen Woodling and her judgment says: “While the general area may satisfy the criteria set out by the National Asylum Support Service, the proposed hostel would harm the residential character of the area. “In addition, it would give rise to an unacceptable level of noise and disturbance.” Coun Todd said: “Councillors have been trying since the 1980s to ensure the character of Grainger Park is protected from increasing conversion into hostel-type accommodation.” Michael Young, chairman of the Grainger Park Residents’ Association, said: “I imagine people’s reaction will be one of relief, but wonder what will happen next, given the proliferation of hostel-type accommodation.” Brian Yates, solicitor for the Angel Group, said: “We are disappointed at the outcome, but we respect fully the inspector’s decision.”

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Written by Concerned

May 7, 2003 at 11:16 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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