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Council publishes asylum centre application response letter

Published on 9 August 2023

High Peak Borough Council has published a letter on its website to address some of the mis-understandings and mis-information that have been circulating about the withdrawn application by the University of Derby to use High Peak Halls as an asylum seekers dispersal centre.

The Development Control Committee was due to consider the application for a Certificate of Lawful Development on Monday 7 August but the University withdrew their application just hours before the meeting was due to start.

Had the meeting taken place, the recommendation was to refuse the application.

Both the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council, who are not members of the Development Control Committee, have called for the proposals to be scrapped.

Leader Councillor Anthony Mckeown, said: "The now withdrawn application has been the subject of much debate in the High Peak and both councillors and officers have received letters from members of the public setting out some of their thoughts on the application and the administration of it by the Council.

"To address some of the issues raised, and to clarify the Council's role, an open letter from the Executive Director responsible for planning has been published on our website.

"Given the high levels of interest in this application, we wanted to ensure this information was made available to a wide audience and I hope it clears up some of the points people have raised."

The Council had no involvement in the development of the proposals and no pre-application discussions took place with officers - the application referred to use of the building by 'non-students' and the Council only received formal clarification of the intended use at a meeting of the East Midlands Strategic Migration Partnership on 14 July.

In March this year, in consultation with the Police, the Council identified the area around the Halls as unsuitable due to existing levels of crime and anti-social behaviour and has made its views known to the Police and Crime Commissioner, Serco and the Home Office.