6th Jul, 2022

Coventry's 'good will is being taken advantage of' - Council uses planning powers to stop asylum seekers being housed in third city hotel

John Carlon 28th Aug, 2020 Updated: 28th Aug, 2020

COVENTRY City Council says it has intervened to stop the use of a Keresley hotel as asylum seeker accommodation.

The Royal Court Hotel, owned by Britannia Hotels, was set to accommodate a group of asylum seekers put up by Home Office contractors.

A senior councillor said the city’s ‘good will is being take advantage of,’ as people awaiting asylum decisions are already hosted at other hotels in the city.

One of them is the Coventry Hill hotel, also run by Britannia.

Councillor Abdul Salam Khan, Deputy Leader of Coventry City Council and whose portfolio covers enforcement, said:

“The decision to use our legal planning powers to stop the arrival of asylum seekers to the Royal Court Hotel was not taken lightly but we believe we were left with no alternative.

“This decision to use the hotel as a hostel was taken with no consultation with the city council and when we found out and objected, our views were ignored.

“The Home Office’s contractors already use two city hotels to provide temporary accommodation and we believe that being made to have more is disproportionate for a city our size.

“Specialist health services are already struggling to support and manage the demand from those in existing hotels and further arrivals will require the commissioning of additional health provision, for which the source of funding is unclear.

“This has been a difficult decision, but we believe it is the right one.

“Coventry is justly proud of its status of being an open and diverse city that promotes peace and reconciliation. Coventry is a City of Sanctuary and has been a voluntary asylum dispersal city since 1999. Although this has been, and remains, the right thing to do we have done so when other towns and cities have refused to.

“But it appears that Coventry’s good will is being taken advantage of with no say in the increasing numbers being sent to the city who come with little or no funding and support which is not in their interests or ours.

“All we are trying to ensure is a fair deal for the city and the service users at a time when we need all of the support we can to manage the massive challenge of coronavirus.”

The Home Office has been contacted for comment.

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