22 Oct 2014
Concerned: MSP John Mason has been a consistent campaigner for better regulation at the Bellgrove

Concerned: MSP John Mason has been a consistent campaigner for better regulation at the Bellgrove

Glasgow Shettleston’s MSP, John Mason, today (Wednesday) took the unusual step of appearing before Glasgow City Council’s Licensing & Regulatory committee.  The committee was meeting to consider the Bellgrove Hotel’s application for an HMO licence.

Mr Mason has made the Bellgrove Hotel one of his top priorities since taking office as an MSP in 2011.  The East End MSP is concerned that the hostel, which houses up to 160 vulnerable men, is subject to the same regulation as a student flat.

Careside Hotels Limited, who had applied for a three year HMO licence, were only granted a one year licence by the committee today.

Commenting after appearing in the Burgh Court Hall to speak to the licensing application, Mr Mason said:

“Although I did not technically object to the HMO, I did want to place on record my very serious concerns about the Bellgrove Hotel and the complete lack of regulation in place for the men staying there.

“My concern or gripe is not with the Licensing Committee, who can really only follow the licensing laws of the day, but rather with the loopholes in the legislation which mean that this hostel – which provides accommodation for some of the city’s most vulnerable men – is subject to the same regulations as a student flat.

“My aim today was to keep this issue high on the agenda and to ask the licensing committee to raise any concerns with the relevant authorities.  One option would be for the DWP to impose more conditions when they write the cheques for housing benefit payments.

“It is really disappointing that the Bellgrove has been in the back of folk’s minds for many years – including as far back as the year 2000 when the BBC did a shocking “Frontline Scotland” documentary on it – but we’ve seen such little action in all these years.  Whilst this is an intriguing story, it is ultimately the safety, care and wellbeing of the 140 residents of the Bellgrove that I care most about.”