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Planning meeting to discuss University Halls deferred

Published on 26 July 2023

Proposals by the University of Derby to use their former halls of residence in Buxton as an Asylum Seekers Dispersal Centre will now be considered by High Peak Borough Council on Monday 7 August.

The Development Control Committee was due to meet on 1 August to consider the University's application for a Certificate of Lawful Use but the meeting has been moved to the following week to allow for external legal advice and recently-received more detailed information to be considered.

Clarification of the intended use of the building was not received by the Council until the middle of July - the Council has not been involved in the development of the proposals and the University did not have pre-application discussions with officers.

The Council was requested to attend a meeting of the East Midlands Strategic Migration Partnership on 14 July where it was formally brought to our attention that Serco are considering the use of High Peak Halls for asylum accommodation and would like to have preliminary discussions with key agencies.

Council Leader, Councillor Anthony Mckeown, said: "The Council has only very recently received this detailed information regarding the intended use of the Halls.

"It's disappointing that Serco (the Home Office's accommodation partner) and their partner, the University of Derby, have only just shared full details of their proposals with the Council and other agencies.

"It's essential that we allow time for full consideration to be given to that, and to the external advice we've sought, before it goes before the Development Control Committee.

"We know people want to see a decision made about this as soon as possible and we need to make sure this decision is as robust a decision as we can make within the current planning rules. We've kept the deferral of the committee to as short a time as possible. There is a lot of interest in this application so I'd like to thank people for their understanding."