Homeless hotel plan falls at hurdle

The Charlotte Hotel, Castleford
The Charlotte Hotel, Castleford

Plans to turn a town centre hotel into a homeless centre for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts have hit a stumbling block.

Wakefield Council bosses deferred an application to revamp The Charlotte Hotel in Castleford after hearing the applicants had signed a form claiming they owned the building.

In explaining why the applicants had not consulted the community over plans to house up to 30 men at the Station Road site, a representative for the developers revealed that they did not currently own the site.

She told the planning committee last Thursday: “At this stage it was decided not to consult with wider groups. The hotel hasn’t been purchased, it’s subject to the planning application. It was a case of getting that first then doing our research.”

The declaration caused planning chiefs to question why the applicants had submitted paperwork to the department which stated they owned the premises.

The representative said it was an “error” and committee chairman Coun Alan Garbutt called a short adjournment to discuss the case. Reconvening, he told the committee: “There seems to have been an administration error and we ask to defer this matter.”

A spokesman for Wakefield Council said the application was now invalid and the applicants would have to resubmit their proposals.

Speaking after the meeting, objector Alison Drake, chairman of Castleford Heritage Trust, said she hoped the delay would make developers re-think their proposals.

She said: “I’m really pleased this has happened. It gives them time to rethink whether this is the right thing for them.

“They’re obviously not experienced, they’ve not done anything like this before and fortunately they have the chance now to completely review it. It’s absolutely not the right location for an addiction centre.”