Park Hall "not to be used for asylum seekers" but uncertainty remains over weddings and hotel's future

Park Hall Hotel will not be used to house asylum seekers following crunch talks between Chorley Council and the Government last night (Thursday, February 10).

By Matthew Calderbank
Friday, 11th February 2022, 11:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th February 2022, 7:56 am

The apparent 'u-turn' follows a meeting between the Council and the Government on Thursday (February 17), in which the Home Office agreed that the hotel should no longer be used for asylum seekers.

Cllr Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, said: “Following discussions with the Home Office we are pleased to have received confirmation that Park Hall will not be used to accommodate asylum seekers.

"This is a sensible decision as the site would simply not be a suitable location for a number of reasons – not least an absence of services and transport links in the immediate vicinity.

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Plans to turn Park Hall Hotel into housing for asylum seekers have been scrapped following crunch talks between Chorley Council and the Government last night (Thursday, February 10)

"We are not aware of any similar alternative proposals for the hotel but, should any be put forward, we expect the reasons that made it unsuitable for this proposed use would once again apply."

It comes just days after Park Hall Hotel itself confirmed that all 105 rooms had been leased to Government contractor Serco to house asylum seekers.

You can read the full statement from Park Hall in our report here, where the hotel advised wedding couples to seek alternative venues due to the arrangement with Serco.

It leaves the future of Park Hall uncertain, with many of those with weddings booked still waiting to hear back from the hotel.

The u-turn comes just days after Park Hall itself confirmed that all 105 rooms had been leased to Government contractor Serco to house asylum seekers

On Monday (February 7), Chorley Council hit out at the Government after it was only informed of the proposal to use the hotel for temporary accommodation on Monday.

In a statement to the Post, the authority said it was infuriated with how the Government had managed the situation, saying those seeking asylum should not be "dumped on a community with no proper planning".

It said it should have been consulted on the plans beforehand and said it had demanded an explanation from the Home Office.

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Best Western now investigating Park Hall Hotel closure

Councillor Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council, said: “Unfortunately, this is a classic example of the government’s uncoordinated approach to dealing with what is a really important issue.

"There doesn’t appear to be any foresight or planning and all we have had is a four line email that we came into at work on Monday outlining a proposal to utilise the hotel for temporary accommodation.

"We need to get more details of what the plans are and whether or not this is for asylum seekers but while we have continued to do our bit to support the relocation of communities in need it has to be done in a managed way and not just dumped on a community with no proper planning.

"We’ve raised this issue previously with the Secretary of State Priti Patel and she had reassured us that any such activity would be done in a managed and coordinated way but that seems to have been completely ignored.

"We will be contacting the Government straight away to find out exactly what’s happening and why we have not been involved until right at the last minute."

When asked about plans to house asylum seekers at Park Hall, a Home Office spokesman said: "The use of hotels is only ever a short-term solution and we are working with local authorities to find appropriate long term accommodation across the United Kingdom."

Best Western has also launched an investigation into the 'disappointing events' leading to the closure of Park Hall Hotel and said "if necessary, we will terminate the hotel from our brand".

You can read the report on the Best Western investigation here.

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