Council admits losing petition

Protestors at site of the proposed residential centre.
Protestors at site of the proposed residential centre.

Red-faced council officials have admitted they lost a petition signed by residents protesting at controversial plans for a former hotel.

People are angry that Motherwell’s Old Mill Hotel could become a residential centre for those who have been homeless or struggled with an addiction.

An online petition with 330 names calling for the application to be rejected was submitted to North Lanarkshire Council. However, when the matter went before the planning committee there was no mention of a separate, paper petition which had attracted more than 100 signatures.

Organiser Elaine Morris said: “This was signed by people, many elderly, who didn’t have access to the online petition or were unable to log on to the council website to post a comment.

“I sent it to the council recorded delivery. When I checked I was told it had been received, but had been lost. It’s just as well I had made a photocopy which I have given them.

“This is an important petition as it is signed by people who live in close proximity to the site”

A council spokesman said: “It appears this petition was not included in the planning file. We conducted an investigation into how this had occurred but, while we accept that the petition was delivered to the council, we have been unable to find it.”

Councillors will visit the site before a special hearing on the application is held. The spokesman added: “We have apologised to Ms Morris and assured her the petition will be drawn to the committee’s attention at the hearing.”