Council calls for “patience and understanding” towards asylum seekers

Government is in such a panic that it is commandeering seaside hotels without any notice or consultation, stretching resources to breaking point.

Will Sidmouth be next? – Owl

From Western Morning News:

A Westcountry council has called on local people to show “patience and understanding” towards asylum seekers arriving in the area to be housed in local hotels.

Seafront hotels in Torquay, Paignton, Ilfracombe and Newquay are being used as short-term accommodation for people who have arrived in the UK, many having risked their lives on perilous crossings of the Channel in small boats.

Yesterday the WMN reported that frustration was growing at the imposition by the Home Office of migrants in Westcountry seaside hotels – with at least one council considering legal action to stop the practice.

Torbay Council says it was not notified in advance about a Torquay hotel now being used and is ready to seek injunctions to stop it happening again. It says services – including children’s services for new arrivals who are registering as being under 18 – are under “severe” pressure.

Meanwhile, the council has issued a statement about the current situation. It said: “The asylum seekers have now arrived safely at the hotel. Please be mindful that not all of these individuals will understand English and they may have had a very difficult experience before arriving here in the Bay. We would be grateful for your patience and understanding at what will be a worrying and confusing time for them.

“We know you will have a lot of questions about this situation, how this happened so quickly and what the council’s involvement is.”

Anne-Marie Bond, chief executive of Torbay Council, said in a statement on Wednesday: “We asked for assurance from the Home Office that there would be no further hotels in Torbay, but despite that request, we learnt on Monday 7 November that a further hotel has been stepped up by the Home Office. This was without any prior notification to us.  

“We have today asked, through our solicitors, urgent questions of the Home Office and we stand ready to issue urgent proceedings upon a response from them. 

“The social and economic impacts of these hotels are significant and the pressure that is being put upon our services, especially our Children’s Services department, is profound. With the first hotel alone, we are managing a significant number of residents who are claiming to be under the age of 18 and this is limiting our ability to undertake statutory services for children and young people.” 

Following the use of hotels in Paignton, Ilfracombe and Newquay, migrants began arriving at the prominent Torquay hotel on Monday. Torbay Conservative MP Kevin Foster said: “It is deeply frustrating to see another hotel in our key tourist areas taken out of use for tourism and converted into longer-term accommodation, with no notice at all to either Torbay Council or me as the MP until we discovered the use via another route.”

Cllr Darren Cowell, deputy leader of Torbay Council, said earlier this week: “As a council we do not have a say in how many asylum seekers are accommodated here as the Home Office makes this decision, along with where they will be staying or for how long. We have put together a multi-agency group that are working to ensure the appropriate help and support is made available.”