Opinion: Glad to see my campaign pay off

​Peterborough’s Great Northern Hotel​Peterborough’s Great Northern Hotel
​Peterborough’s Great Northern Hotel
Almost a year ago, I wrote in this column that the Great Northern Hotel was not a suitable location to accommodate illegal migrants that had crossed the channel on small boats, writes Peterborough MP Paul Bristow.

It was the wrong hotel, in the wrong place, and wrong for the young men themselves.

On 11th November last year 80 single men were moved into this landmark hotel, in our city centre right next to the railway station.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It is currently costing the taxpayer far too much to pay for migrants’ accommodation in hotels.

This is why I am glad that after almost a year of campaigning the Government has announced this week that the Great Northern Hotel is one of the first hotels to be stood down.

The process affecting the first tranche of hotels will be completed by early next year. By then I hope many more will be announced.

I have always been so proud of Peterborough – we are a caring city and we accommodate more asylum seekers than any other town or city in the East of England.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

We have a strong track record of supporting newcomers but our resources have been stretched.

I said the police, support services, the council and most importantly the people of Peterborough needed certainty on this issue - and that I would not give up.

Our kindness shouldn’t be taken for granted and I am pleased the Government clearly agree with me when I said that this location wasn’t right for everyone involved.

I know this mattered to the people of Peterborough. I have had thousands of survey responses on the issue, hundreds of emails, and many conversations with constituents, with the overwhelming majority agreeing with me.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It hasn’t been easy but I am pleased that after nearly a year we have been successful in our campaign to get the Great Northern back to its proper use - as a hotel.

This is a win for everyone.

We can now focus on the bright future that the new Station Quarter will bring to our city.

Labour and other parties opposed this campaign and suggesting it was racist or divisive to oppose the Great Northern Hotel being used as a hostel. They were wrong.

We now have the certainty we need to proceed at pace with our Station Quarter plans with the £48 million we secured from Government.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I am so excited about this project, it will be a real game changer for Peterborough.

It is a chance to use this prime asset to bring jobs, retail and more visitors to our city.

Our station is used by thousands of commuters every day and is the gateway to the East of England.

It’s the first thing many people see when they come to our great city and first impressions are important.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I’m pleased to be able bring some good news this week, it was a long hard campaign over nearly 12 months but it was worth it, we did it and now we can focus on our positive future.

Peterborough is on the up!