Decision on Motherwell hotel plan delayed

Plan to convert this former hotel building have had a mixed response.
Plan to convert this former hotel building have had a mixed response.

A decision on whether to approve a training centre in Motherwell for people facing addiction problems or homelessness has been delayed.

A charity wants to convert the former Old Mill Hotel into a facility for people “anxious to rebuild their lives”.

However, the application has provoked protests from residents in the area, including a petition with 330 signatures.

Today councillors on North Lanarkshire’s planning committee agreed to visit the site in Mill Road before making a decision.

Planners have recommended the application be granted. A report to the commitee dismissed fears that the centre would have a “detrimental” effect on the area and said it would “bring a local landmark back into use”.

The committee heard that, apart from the protest petition, 55 separate objections had been lodged with the council. However, there were also 99 comments in support of the work done by the international charity Betel which is behind the plan.

Many of these were testimonies from people who have been helped by the charity or have worked with it.

Betel was described as a “well-run organisation which helps transform lives and restore families”. Local people and businesses benefit from its services which include furniture restoration and landscape gardening.

However, objectors fear the centre would lead to an increase in anti-social behaviour and isn’t suitable in an area where lots of families live.

They claimed testimonies from supporters should be dismissed unless the individuals live in the local area.

Councillors are expected to visit the site over the next few weeks before deciding on the application.