Council raise concerns over plan to house asylum seekers in hotel close to PM’s country home
A plan to move asylum seekers from Kent to a hotel close to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s constituency home has been made despite concerns over the fate of British homeless families and those fleeing the war in Ukraine housed in the venue, a council has said.
Campaigners say seven Ukrainian and two British families have been told to leave the Allerton Court Hotel, in Northallerton, which is just a few miles from Mr Sunak’s manor house home in a nearby village.
They say they are being relocated to Stockton-on-Tees and parts of County Durham to make way for people being relocated from the controversial centre at Manston, in Kent – a move which has also meant half-a-dozen weddings being cancelled at the 44-room North Yorkshire venue.
Hambleton District Council (HDC) said the move is going ahead despite concerns being raised. However, the Home Office insisted they “have been assured there are no homeless people or Ukrainians resident” in the hotel.
A council spokeswoman said: “Hambleton District Council has been informed that the Home Office intend to use the Allerton Court Hotel in Northallerton as temporary emergency accommodation for asylum seekers.
“This decision has been made following a meeting between HDC and the Home Office where concerns were raised around this proposal due to this hotel already being used, albeit on a limited basis, to temporarily house homeless people in Hambleton but more frequently to house Ukrainian families.
“Despite the concerns raised, the Home Office has confirmed their intention to go ahead with the proposal.
“We can confirm there is no intention for HDC to pursue legal action in relation to this decision.”
In a statement, the Home Office said: “The number of people arriving in the UK who require accommodation has reached record levels and has put our asylum system under incredible strain.
“We have not yet taken occupancy of the hotel but have been assured there are no homeless people or Ukrainians resident in it.
“The use of hotels to house asylum seekers is unacceptable – there are currently more than 37,000 asylum seekers in hotels costing the UK taxpayer £5.6million a day.
“The use of hotels is a short-term solution and we are working hard with local authorities to find appropriate accommodation.”
Nicola David, chairwoman of the charity Ripon City of Sanctuary, which supports asylum seekers, said: “The Home Office talks about an invasion of migrants, which is awful language, but what they’ve done is invaded people’s lives up here.
“People are being moved out of area, people are being turfed out of their emergency accommodation, people’s wedding plans are being invaded because, basically, the Home Office doesn’t care.
“They just come down from above without consultation and without warning.”
She said she understands that the new arrivals will not come to the hotel until later this month to allow one wedding, which was deemed too late to cancel, to go ahead.
Ms David said: “There are things about this hotel which make it appropriate and make it inappropriate. It’s more an issue of timing and it’s more an issue of the backlog.
“But I think this is going to be replicated all over the country. We’ve already seen that.”
She said: “We need the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary to be looking at this problem nationally and not just in North Yorkshire.”
Ms David said the Ukrainian families moved to Stockton and County Durham will face lengthy journeys to access Northallerton schools and other services and the British families involved will have no access to free transport.
Hambleton Council mounted a legal challenge to the Home Office plan earlier this year to house up to 1,500 asylum seekers at a disused RAF base at Linton-on-Ouse, which is about 25 miles from Northallerton.
This plan was scrapped in August.
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