Addicts training centre plan for hotel is rejected

Protestors at Old Mill Hotel, Motherwell, earlier this year.
Protestors at Old Mill Hotel, Motherwell, earlier this year.

Plans to turn a former Motherwell hotel into a residential centre for people with addictions and other problems have been rejected.

Councillors have today unanimously thrown out the proposal by international charity Betel for the Old Mill near Braidhurst Street.

It follows a campaign of local opposition which resulted in 433 people signing petitions.

Elaine Morris, representing objectors, told a special meeting of North Lanarkshire Council’s planning committee: “We don’t want a drugs and alcohol rehabilitation centre right in the middle of our close knit community.”

Betel says it helps turn lives around by offering training in skills such as landscape gardening and furniture restoration, and provides a drugs and alcohol-free environment.

David Murphy, who had planned to run the Motherwell centre, told the committee he was a heroin addict who was helped by Betel and now wants to give something back.

It was proposed to offer accommodation for up to 26 people, including staff.

Adrian Smith, Mr Murphy’s agent, said: “We are trying to help people with challenging life circumstances. It’s important to remember that all communities have people who suffer problems. Everything we can do to help address these has to be welcomed.”

However, local councillor Helen McKenna spoke out against the application. She “applauded” Betel for its work but said the location was wrong and Motherwell already has services to help people with addiction problems.

Councillor McKenna also expressed concern that centre residents would be able to “come and go as they please”.

After the decision to refuse planning permission, Mrs Morris said she was delighted. She added: “The councillors were brilliant. I’m really pleased they have listened to the local residents.”

More on this story in the Motherwell Times, out on Wednesday.