'An underhand covert move': Your reaction to asylum seekers being moved into Blackpool's Metropole Hotel

Readers have shared their views following the Home Office moving asylum seekers in Blackpool's Metropole Hotel.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 12:30 pm

The leader of Blackpool Council criticised the Home Office yesterday for breaking an agreement with town hall officials about moving asylum seekers into the resort hotel.

Coun Lynn Williams said the council is reviewing its legal position on the decision to house hundreds of asylum seekers in the Metropole Hotel, who were allegedly moved in secretly on Sunday night.

Coun Williams has criticised the Home Office, the Metropole's owner Britiannia Hotel Group and the private public services firm Serco for breaking an agreement with the council after it was seeking an injuncitve case at court to prevent the asylum seekers being put there.

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Asylum seekers have been moved into the Metropole Hotel

Resort MP Scott Benton, who again rounded on his own Government over the controversial move, said 141 people – mainly women and children – have been moved into the prominent seafront venue, with that number expected to increase.

The red-bricked hotel, built in 1776 and one of the town’s two oldest, has 223 bedrooms with as many as 300 migrants expected to be accommodated there.

Dozens were pictured getting off a coach under the cover of darkness on Sunday night into Monday morning, with council leader Lynn Williams pointing the finger at Whitehall bosses and accusing them of subterfuge following days of talks.

Plans to put up hundreds of migrants up in the Victorian Metropole, which is run by Britannia Hotels and sits just yards from North Pier and Blackpool’s war memorial, and is the only hotel in the resort to be on the seaward side of the Prom, were announced earlier this month.

After being branded a “panic measure” and “disproportionate and damaging” by the town’s two Tory MPs – Mr Benton for Blackpool South and Paul Maynard for Blackpool North and Cleveleys – and amid fears over security, migrants’ safety, and the strain on public services, and in the fact of questions of the legality of the move, preparations were put on ice.

Britannia, which also runs the Blackpool Grand, Norbreck Castle, and the Savoy Hotel, was also warned it would need permission to effectively change the use of the Metropole from a hotel to a house of multiple occupancy (HMO).

Here's a selection of some of your views following the decision by the Home Office:

Roberteo P Shiels: An underhand covert move undermining the populous and democracy! Surely not!

Peter Hughes: A nice little earner from the Home Office for Britannia boss and Conservative donor Alex Langsam. Must be what Boris regards as levelling up!

David Butterworth: Refugees need a roof over their heads before anything else. Shelter first and debate afterwards. I’m sand grown and delighted we are helping. Proud to be supporting refugees.

John Rose: Feel sorry for the regular holiday makers who have booked here in advance through the different coach tour companies, it’s not as if they can cancel there bookings as they’ll lose money. Metropole gets a lot of year round package bookings from Scotland and Yorkshire , especially over the Christmas period.

Mark Rossi: How many are London taking in?

Mandy Travis: Brought in, in the dead of the night. That’s so sneaky.

Martin Weaver: It’s says mostly women and children. It’s not there fault they are refugees. Blackpool council should be doing more to help them rather then moan about it.it’s not far off the end of the season as well

Jayde Cunliffe: Does this mean that we can all move abroad and their governments can rehome all of us for free?

Maddison Pixie Coyle-barnes: Wonder how much they getting paid for that