Stone Harbour, which owns Earnley Concourse, has today announced (December 11) the building will not house 200 single male asylum seekers.
The application has now changed, with the hostel now looking to take asylum seeker families and an element of single people of both sexes.
The Observer previously reported a planning application was submitted for a change of the former educational training centre on Clappers Lane, with the Home Office considering using it to home asylum seekers on a temporary basis, while their applications for housing are being processed.
On its website, Stone Harbour said today: “We have received some measured initial feedback on the potential use of Earnley Concourse directly from concerned local businesses and residents.
“Having taken these views on board, we have been in discussions with Clearsprings, the Home Office and the District Council to change the initial proposed use from single males only to families and an element of singles of both sexes.
“One of the six discreet accommodation sections of The Concourse will be allocated to singles, the majority of the building to families.
“Clearsprings are also preparing a myth-buster document to help dispel some of the myths around asylum seekers and especially those that could be accommodated at Earnley Concourse.
“The guests will now be made up of family groups and single persons of both sexes who would have first been assessed and screened for security and health, before being transferred to Earnley for a short period and then dispersed to community housing in one of the UK’s existing dispersal areas.
“Guests staying at Earnley will be subject to rules that will be fairly but robustly enforced.
“Major health issues or misbehaviour will see guests transferred back to their Initial Accommodation Centres in London.
“The myth-buster document will provide more detail as well as a copy of Clearsprings’ contractual statement of requirements that details the services they are required to provide and standards they must adhere to for this client group.
“Clearsprings will shortly be hosting a round-table meeting with a selection of local political representatives and other stakeholders to explain detailed operational matters regarding the use of Earnley Concourse for asylum seekers should the current planning application be successful.
“We now hope that the local population and local community leaders will get behind the proposed use of The Concourse in a positive manner.
“There is a Europe wide refugee crisis and the Manhood Peninsula should be proud to be part of the solution that supports and helps people in their time of greatest need.”
A public meeting to discuss the plans will take place next week.
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