Best Western Leyland Hotel will shut next week to house asylum seekers with all weddings cancelled

Leyland’s Best Western hotel will shut next week after agreeing a contract with the Government to house asylum seekers.

By Matthew Calderbank
Friday, 1st April 2022, 3:51 pm
Updated Friday, 1st April 2022, 4:32 pm

The Best Western, near the M6 in Leyland Way, told the Post it will close from Monday (April 4) as it prepares to accommodate around 150 asylum seekers.

South Ribble Borough Council said the Home Office only made it aware of the arrangement at the last minute and did not consult the authority on its plans.

Best Western has not provided a comment at this stage, but staff at the hotel confirmed that all weddings booked for the coming months have been cancelled.

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The Best Western Preston Leyland Hotel will close to the public from Monday (April 4) and will house asylum seekers for the foreseeable future

It is understood the hotel intends to contact those with weddings booked and full refunds will be issued.

It is not clear at this stage whether staff at the hotel will be affected by the sudden change in use and whether they will keep their jobs at the hotel. Best Western have been approached for comment.

The Home Office said asylum seekers will “receive accommodation and support at the hotel whilst their asylum claims are being assessed”. The hotel expects to remain closed to the public for a minimum of three months whilst Serco, the Government contractor overseeing the arrangement, makes efforts to move those seeking asylum into “dispersed social housing”.

Councillor Paul Foster, leader of South Ribble Borough Council, said the authority is not opposed to housing asylum seekers in Leyland, but expressed his frustration with the Government for not involving the Council in the plans.

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He said: “I want to be clear that this is a Government decision, the effect of which will be heavily felt by those who use and work in the Leyland Hotel.

"The Government unfortunately don't feel it appropriate to include the local Council in the decision making which is extremely frustrating.

“Incredibly short notice periods for transforming local hotels into temporary accommodation for asylum seekers seems to now be a common occurrence.

"The country’s system for supporting those seeking asylum is incredibly important but unfortunately, its management by Government is lacking.

“We have found out about this incredibly late in the day and have had no prior involvement or consultation on the decision and we implore the Home Office to talk with us about the proposed process much earlier.

"We have locally experienced similar issues recently in Chorley.

“While we are not opposed to the borough being a temporary home for asylum seekers, it needs to be done in a managed way so that the impact on the wider community can be fully considered.

“We will continue to engage with the Home Office representatives to understand more about the plans and proposed process.”

The Home Office said it does not comment on ‘individual hotels’ but said its contract partner Serco has been in consultation with local authorities around Lancashire to identify suitable temporary accommodation that can be used for this purpose.

A Home Office spokesman said: “We are dealing with an unprecedented increase in asylum cases but despite this we continue to ensure that the accommodation provided is safe, secure and leaves no one destitute.

“The Home Office does not comment on operational arrangements for individual hotels.”

Serco and Best Western have been approached for comment.

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