Blackpool Council has been advised by the Home Office that 223 people will be moved into temporary accommodation at the Metropole Hotel – which is located on the seafront in the heart of the tourist areas – from the end of this week as part of the Government’s response to the growing number of migrants crossing the Channel.
Earlier today (Tuesday 8th September), Leader of Blackpool Council, Councillor Lynn Williams, said that the Council had been presented with a fait accompli by the Home Office. She was concerned that the placement of the migrants was being made at the start of the peak illuminations season and in a hotel, which is run by the Britannia Hotels, located in the very heart of Blackpool’s tourism zone.
Councillor Williams said, ‘We have tried to make sense of this with the Home Office and raised numerous questions about how they arrived at this decision. Most of those questions have fallen on deaf ears. We fully understand the pressures that the Government is facing in terms of the numbers of asylum-seekers crossing the Channel but, at the same time, the Home Office needs to understand that it cannot place people simply because it has a marriage of convenience with certain hotel operators. As a local authority, we are enormously sympathetic to the plight of refugees and are working with Lancashire to support the resettlement of Afghan refugees, but this is a very different situation. Such placements can only be made if there has been a thorough risk assessment undertaken as well as consultation with those agencies that will have to provide assistance for people who are in need of high levels of support. Given that the Home Office has avoided most of the questions we have asked, we have no details of where these 223 asylum-seekers are from, what specific needs they might have and how long they are going to be placed in temporary accommodation in the middle of one of our main tourism areas.’
The most recent Trip Advisor review of Britannia’s Metropole Hotel does not bode well for the migrants!