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Carmarthenshire Politics West Wales

Update on Home Office proposal to house asylum seekers at Stradey Park Hotel

FOLLOWING a meeting between Carmarthenshire County Council officers and the Home Office on 30 May 2023, Council Leader Darren Price has written to the owners of the Stradey Park Hotel, Llanelli urging them to provide an honest answer to the people of Llanelli as to whether they are in discussions with the Home Office regarding the potential use of the hotel to accommodate asylum seekers.

Carmarthenshire County Council officers were informed by a Home Office official that the Minister of State (Immigration Minister) in Westminster has given agreement for the use of Stradey Park Hotel to proceed to house asylum seekers, subject to a contract between the hotel owners and Clearsprings, the operator who works on behalf of the Home Office running these sites.

To be able to secure a contract with the hotel owners (for the placement of Asylum seekers) the County Council understand that Clearsprings have a range of assessments and work that is yet to be completed, including a fire risk assessment. The use intended by Clearsprings is still for 207 asylum seekers in the hotel rooms and up to 107 emergency provision in communal areas. The County Council are yet to receive any of this information in writing despite repeated requests. Public Sector Partners have also raised concerns regarding health services and have been advised that additional funding for this would be the responsibility of the Welsh Government.

The Council is firmly against the Stradey Park Hotel proposal going ahead and are exploring a range of legal routes, including planning, to persuade the Home Office and hotel owners of the unsuitable nature of the site for this purpose.

Cllr. Darren Price Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council said: “It is time for the owner of the Stradey Park Hotel, Sterling Woodrow, to come clean about its discussions with the Home Office. I have written to them to demand answers on the future use of the hotel, as the local community of Furnace and Llanelli need answers, as do the staff of the hotel, Carmarthenshire County Council and our range of partners.

“Only this week, the Home Office, once again, repeated their intention to use the Stradey Park Hotel as a site for contingency accommodation for in excess of 300 asylum seekers. The hotel owner, Sterling Woodrow, must now be open and honest with the people of Carmarthenshire; yes or no, are they in discussions with the Home Office and, if so, do they intend to proceed with the planned proposal to concentrate a large number of asylum seekers at the hotel?

“The Stradey Park Hotel plays an important role within our county as a venue that is often used by local people for events such as weddings, conferences and social events. It is also popular with tourists and visitors to Carmarthenshire. The hotel has enjoyed a significant amount of support from the local community over the years, it is only right, therefore, that they are honest with the local community.

“As a local authority, we want to be able to work with the hotel to encourage and develop tourism and growth in the area. The experience of the past few weeks has left the local community feeling very disappointed, with wedding receptions being cancelled due to the uncertainty. It is having a very real impact on people’s lives in the area. It is not fair on couples looking forward to their wedding day, it is not fair on the local community, and it is not fair on the staff at the hotel. The hotel owners have an opportunity to put a stop to all of this by telling the Home Office that they do not want to proceed, and I would urge them to do just that.”

Carmarthenshire County Council and its public sector partners will seek to persuade the Home Office not to proceed with the proposal to use the Stradey Park Hotel, Llanelli for the purpose of providing contingency accommodation for in excess of 300 asylum seekers.

This decision is that of the Home Office and, therefore, all press enquiries should be directed to the Home Office on 0300 123 3535.