Council admits mistake in publicising Knaresborough asylum seeker accommodation address
Nov 15, 2023
Cllr Simon Myers, executive councillor for housing.
Cllr Simon Myers, executive councillor for housing.

North Yorkshire Council has admitted making a mistake in publicising the address of authority-owned properties in Knaresborough which would house asylum seekers.

The council published an online decision notice last week to take four homes off the market to be used either for unaccompanied asylum seeking children or as move-on accommodation for homeless people transitioning to independent living.

However, at the time, the notice included addresses of the properties.

At a full council meeting in Northallerton today, Cllr Hannah Gostlow, who represents Knaresborough East division, asked Cllr Simon Myers, executive councillor for housing, whether he felt it was appropriate to include the address on its website.

Cllr Gostlow said:

“Given the public decision notice regarding accommodation for unoccupied child refugees in Knaresborough, does the executive member for housing feel it is appropriate to publicise the location of accommodation for vulnerable young people?”

In response, Cllr Myers said:

“The full answer will be published on the council’s website. But, the short answer is yes it was a mistake.

“It has now been rectified on the record. In an attempt to be open, fair and democratic and to meet the needs of the situation that we find ourselves in with regards to housing these vulnerable young people, a decision was taken quickly and perhaps not thought out as well as it might have been.”

When asked how the location was made public, Cllr Myers said the exact location was revealed as the houses were being retained after being put on the market.

He added:

“The exact location was published in the decision notice. In fact, it would not have taken a lot of working out that they were those properties.

“Both children’s social care and housing are aware of the mistake they have made and they will make sure that such a mistake is not made again.”

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Harrogate Borough Council bought the properties in 2019 after they had been unoccupied for several years.

The council, which was abolished in April this year, restored them and said last year it intended to sell the leaseholds for an estimated £879,900 and retain the freehold.

Graham Swift, Harrogate Borough Council’s deputy leader at the time, said the properties “had been a blight on the high street in Knaresborough for several years” and the local authority had recognised their potential to provide homes.

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