Update – asylum seekers and Metropole Hotel


Updated statement regarding asylum seekers and the Metropole Hotel – 27 September 2021

Cllr Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “We have strongly and repeatedly expressed to the Britannia Hotel Group, Serco and the Home Office, that the proposed use of this accommodation requires planning consent which is not in place. That view has not changed. We also remain of the firm view that this hotel, in this location, is wholly unsuitable for the purpose of accommodating and supporting asylum seekers.

 “On Wednesday last week we were assured by the Home Office and Serco that we would be informed in advance of any arrivals, and that nobody would be placed in the hotel before Monday at the earliest. This assurance was given at the explicit request of local health leaders, who have repeatedly evidenced the unprecedented level of demand facing local health services.

 “It is therefore extremely disappointing that the Home Office and Serco chose to break this agreement and place people over the weekend without notifying local services. This is no way for central government departments and their contractors to behave, and seriously undermines our trust in them.

 “We are further disappointed that this has taken place after we informed all parties that as Britannia was not accepting of our position, we were seeking injunctive action that would prevent the proposed use.  This would have been heard in court today and I am saddened that they have acted in a way that smacks of a deliberate move to frustrate the justice system. 

 “We will be working with our partners to ensure that the appropriate support is in place for the very vulnerable families and children who have arrived with us here in Blackpool. Their placement at the Metropole is not of their choosing and I hope our community will show compassion and understanding for the time that they are here.

“In the meantime, and in the light of the changed circumstances, we are reviewing our legal position and will take appropriate action if we are able to do so.”

Please see the following statement regarding asylum seekers and the Metropole Hotel.

Cllr Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council, said:

“We have now been advised that the relocation of the asylum seekers to the Metropole Hotel has been paused and will not take place tomorrow (Friday 10 September).

“However, our understanding is that the Home Office is continuing to pursue this plan. In that regard, our view remains exactly the same in that this is a wholly inappropriate and ill-conceived placement.

“We stand by our assertion that the Home Office has failed to satisfy any of the grave concerns raised by local services including the council, NHS, police, fire service and public health officials. Collectively we have requested answers to a number of questions relating to suitability of location, the timing of this placement and the need for a thorough risk assessment particularly in terms of the potential impact on these vulnerable and traumatised people.

“None of those questions have been answered to date and there is growing dismay over the way in which this situation has been handled.

“As a result, we will exercise every available power to prevent the usage of the Metropole in the way that is intended. We have served notice on Britannia Hotels advising that if they close the hotel and use it for the purpose of housing asylum-seekers they will need planning permission for a change of use of the building. If they ignore that advice, we will issue a temporary stop notice and enforce if necessary.”

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