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Home Office ‘unable to secure’ 2nd Wisbech hotel for asylum seekers

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The Home Office says it has abandoned an attempt to secure a second hotel in Wisbech for asylum seekers.

Fenland District Council confirmed today they had been informed by the Home Office it had been “unable to secure” the empty Elme Hall hotel.

The council says the Home Office was considering housing asylum seekers at the 45-room Elme Hall Hotel in Wisbech, as part of its contingency accommodation to house asylum seekers.

Cllr Samantha Hoy, Fenland District Council’s Cabinet member for housing, said: “We are pleased to report that we have now been informed that the Home Office has been unable to secure this hotel for the purpose of accommodating asylum seekers.

After being informed of the proposals on November 3, Fenland District Council said it had made “strong representations to the Home Office regarding the unsuitability of Elme Hall Hotel and Wisbech in general for housing asylum seekers”.

The council says it maintains it position that “placing asylum seekers in a rural town such as Wisbech, with very limited hotel accommodation and transport links, and issues with migrant exploitation and human trafficking, would be irresponsible”.

Last month West Norfolk Council agreed that the 34-bedroom motel block at Elme Hall Hotel, beside the A47 on the outskirts of Wisbech, could be turned into an HMO (house of multiple occupation).

It will provide housing for up to 39 people and has a communal kitchen, dining, and lounge areas on each floor.

Also last month it was revealed that the 26-bedroomed Rose and Crown in the town centre had been closed to enable it to house asylum seekers.

“We regret to inform you that as of 4th November 2022, the hotel is permanently closed to the public,” said a post by the Rose and Crown owners on Facebook.

“This includes the food and beverage departments, alongside the accommodation.

“We thank everyone who has supported us throughout the years and will miss seeing each and every one of you.”

It is thought 21 asylum seekers are now accommodated there.

Wisbech councillor Steve Tierney said in a social media post that “to the best of my knowledge they are not Albanians. They are Eritreans”.

And agreeing the hotel is now accommodating 21 of them, he added that “there were 26, but five have absconded, I believe”.

 

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