Dunchurch Park Hotel applies for retrospective planning permission after installing 40 pods intended to house asylum seekers

The owners of Dunchurch Park Hotel have applied for retrospective planning permission after installing 40 ‘pods’ to house asylum seekers.
A photo taken some months ago, showing pods being delivered to the hotel.A photo taken some months ago, showing pods being delivered to the hotel.
A photo taken some months ago, showing pods being delivered to the hotel.

Much mystery surrounded the hotel late last year when it was abruptly shut – leaving some who had booked weddings with just days to find alternative venues.

It then emerged that the hotel had come to an arrangement with the Home Office and private company Serco, whereby they would be accommodating around 200 asylum seekers.

The asylum seekers are housed at the hotel temporarily while their applications are being processed and, if successful, they are then moved to permanent accommodation elsewhere.

At the time, the reason for the hotel’s sudden closure was not widely known.

The Advertiser was able to verify that the hotel was being used to house asylum seekers – though this newspaper was shown evidence of credible far-right threats to those being housed on the site, so we declined to publish a full report.

The issue was made public months later in January, when questions began to arise over a number of ‘pod’ cabins being trucked to the site, prompting Dunchurch Parish Council to issue a statement in which they said Rugby council was investigating possible planning breaches. Click here to read that article.

The statement explained that the owners of the hotel were actively working with the council to resolve any planning concerns.

Then, on March 28, those behind the project submitted an application for retrospective planning permission for 40 pods, a security portacabin, security barrier and play equipment which, if granted, would apply for 18 months.

In the planning documents, the owners of the hotel state they were “ill-advised” by the supplier of the pods, who, the owners say, led them to believe that they would not require planning permission.

The pods were installed but no asylum seekers were housed in them, owing to the planning concerns.

The planning documents state that both the council and the police report having received no complaints regarding any of the asylum seekers, and it is argued that the peaceful location of the hotel provides an ideal site for people to adjust to being in the UK.

At present there are 201 asylum seekers on site – comprising 148 adults and 53 children.

The applicants state: “Through the use of the temporary cabins, it is the intention that the current operation will transition to a family-orientated site, focussing on children and also single female guests.”

Once the 18 months has gone by, the applicants state the pods will be removed and the site returned to how it was.

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