A PEMBROKESHIRE hotel has been used as accommodation for migrant agricultural workers since March, with hopes it can continue, planners have been told.
The Nant Y Ffin Hotel, Llandissilio is to be used to house up to 67 seasonal workers, in an ‘application’ submitted by Recruitment service Pro-Force Ltd and Pembrokeshire agricultural business Puffin Produce Ltd.
The hotel has been used for accommodation for seasonal migrant workers since March, with up to 48 there at any one time.
Agent Geraint John Planning Ltd, in a planning statement submitted to county planners, feels there is no need for an actual planing application as the accomodation for workers at the hotel does not represent a change of use.
“This application is made on a ‘without prejudice’ basis. It is our / the applicant’s position that, at this stage, it is not considered that the ongoing use and activity associated with the proposal requires planning permission,” the statement says.
It says no physical changes have been made to the hotel for its new role, and that “only when works are to be undertaken to the building, to support its function, will full planning permission be sought for the change of use brought about by such works”.
It adds: “The application is accordingly made purely in the interest of transparency, to confirm the exact present use and function of the hotel, which is to provide accommodation for seasonal workers.”
Recruitment service Pro-Force runs a ‘Seasonal Workers Scheme’ that has been running for three years, managed by the Home Office under the T5 (temporary worker) seasonal worker category of the immigration system.
Geraint John Planning Ltd says workers will be transported throughout the county to work at Puffin Produce facilities, carrying out farming and field-based work in the horticulture and dairy sectors at local farms and business within a 40-mile radius of the site.
The workers are transported by nine-seater minibuses, with five currently operating daily, which may increase to nine, along with extra shopping trip journeys.
Through working with Pro-Force, Puffin Produce hopes to keep expanding its business through the use of the seasonal workers scheme, which would require suitable “high-quality accommodation”.
“Puffin Produce is an expanding business, and thus its employee requirement is increasing year on year to fulfil the needs of the business. Some field-based roles are proving impossible to fill with workers from the local region, and as such, Puffin require seasonal workers from the European market to fulfil the employment requirements commensurate with the existing and ever-increasing capacity of the business.”
Gemini Planning Services Ltd, on behalf of Pro-Force, said: “…with the reduced supply of labour from the EU due to Brexit and the inability of the domestic market to provide anything like the workers required, there is still a critical shortage of seasonal labour supply on farms throughout the UK, Wales and locally in this area.
“The reality is that there remains a heavy dependency on seasonal workers from outside of the UK. With this continued dependency on oversees labour comes the need to provide suitable, high-quality accommodation at an affordable price in order to attract labour from the EU and beyond.”
The application will be considered by county planners at a later date.