A decision has been made on plans to house asylum seekers in a North Devon hotel, sparking concerns from North Devon Council and a local MP.
According to North Devon Council, the owners of the Dilkhusa Grand Hotel in Ilfracombe have contacted the government and offered the hotel as a potential place to house asylum seekers.
The council contacted Clearsprings Ready Homes, the Home Office accommodation provider, to clarify the situation after learning of the apparent offer.
North Devon MP Seline Saxby spoke to a minister at the Home Office to express her concern at “further strain in an already remote coastal community where health services are already stretched”.
Leader of North Devon Council, Councilor David Worden, issued a statement regarding news of the potential future use of the Dilkhusa Grand Hotel in Ilfracombe.
Councilor Worden says: “North Devon Council has recently received formal notification from the Home Office regarding the possible use of the Dilkhusa Grand Hotel in Ilfracombe as an emergency hotel to accommodate people who have arrived in the UK seeking protection (asylum seekers).
“We have written to the Home Office and Clearsprings Ready Homes, the Home Office accommodation provider, expressing serious concerns about the process and the suitability of Ilfracombe for this type of accommodation. Ilfracombe is very remote from any support services and the loss of an operating hotel would have a significant impact on the local economy.
“North Devon MP Seline Saxby raised similar concerns directly with Ministers and the Home Office and called for urgent and detailed consultation with North Devon Council.
“A multi-agency forum was subsequently held with the Home Office on Friday 7 October 2022 where we and other agencies reiterated these concerns. We have been informed today (Thursday 13 October 2022) that a decision has been taken not to continue the hotel as asylum emergency accommodation .
“We believe the decision made regarding the Dilkusa Grand Hotel is the right one and supports our shared desire to develop and support the city. We are grateful to the Home Office for the opportunity to give local stakeholders a voice to influence this important decision.” .
“We understand the critical need to increase accommodation capacity across the country to accommodate people seeking help in the UK. We will work proactively with the Government to help meet this need.”
North Devon MP Seline Saxby said: “I was deeply concerned that the company running the Dilkhusa Hotel offered its facilities to the Home Office to house asylum seekers, but I am pleased to have contacted the Minister and the Home Office directly and with full support. North Devon Council that the Dilkhusa Hotel will no longer be considered an emergency site for asylum.
“Whilst I fully appreciate the need to care for those waiting for asylum cases to be heard, I believe very strongly that this should be in a facility in a larger city so as not to further burden an already remote coastal community. where health care is already strained.
“I will continue to urge Ministers and Home Office officials that while we in North Devon want to help, Ilfracombe is not the right place for this potential processing centre. I have already written to the Secretary of State about this case, but also to review the whole policy of taking over hotels in remote coastal communities.
“I very much hope that the hotel will now reopen its doors to paying guests, which the wider tourism economy in Ilfracombe relies on.”