Refugee house in Offchurch agreed by planners

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Up to 35 Syrian refugees will be in Offchurch by Christmas after councillors gave unanimous support to open up a former church site.

Members of Warwick District Council’s planning committee supported officers’ recommendations to allow Offa House to be opened up as an emergency centre.

The Grade II-listed building has been granted change of use to accommodate refugees for the next five years - after which time it will revert back to its former use as a retreat house for the Diocese of Coventry.

Up to 35 refugees at a time will be given shelter for up to two weeks while permanent homes are found. Supporting the application which was put forward by the diocese, Cllr Michael Doody told planners: “The village is 98 per cent behind this but there are some concerns over traffic. I think that when you look at it there really will be no increase on traffic from what is already there and at the end of the five years, the building will be in even better condition.”

The house will be used to aid people seeking help through the Government’s vulnerable persons relocation scheme.