Peterborough MP claims 80 asylum seekers have been moved into Great Northern Hotel

Council chiefs to seek enforcement action against ‘unsuitable site for asylum seekers’
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Eighty asylum seekers have been placed in the Great Northern Hotel in Peterborough, according to the city’s MP.

The group of men were brought to the historic hotel in Station Approach on Friday evening.

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It is understood that the group of ‘single men’ arrived at the 41-bedroom hotel in two coaches late in the evening.

Their arrival came just hours after Peterborough City Council chief executive Matt Gladstone had announced that he had been informed by the Home Office the hotel was to be used as part of the dispersal arrangements for asylum seekers.

He had warned that this might happen as early as this weekend.

It is understood the council has already ‘served papers’ on the hotel as it seeks enforcement action against an ‘unsuitable site for asylum seekers’.

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Peterborough MP Paul Bristow announced on Twitter that: ‘last night (Friday) - 80 single men were placed in the Great Northern Hotel.

The Great Northern Hotel in Peterborough.The Great Northern Hotel in Peterborough.
The Great Northern Hotel in Peterborough.

He added: “Peterborough welcomes refugees - but something very different is happening with small boat crossings and the use of quite smart hotels in city and town centre locations.

He stated: “Ironically, I warned about this in Parliament last week.

“It would be helpful if Labour and Lib Dems would stop shouting ‘racist’ at me and work with me, the City Council, the Police and others to demonstrate why using this hotel in this way is so inappropriate.”

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In a separate tweet, he said: “This is a historic, city-centre hotel. It’s the wrong choice.

“I oppose this & will do everything I can to ensure it’s back to being a hotel.”

A council spokesperson said on Friday: “We have taken enforcement action today to prevent the change of use of the Great Northern Hotel to allow its use for further asylum seekers, not just because our own resources to welcome and help genuine asylum seekers are stretched to the absolute limit, but because of the risks to strategic infrastructure of our city, and the UK.”

Jenni Halliday, Serco’s Contract Director for Asylum Accommodation Services, which is responsible for providing accommodation in the region, said: “With the significant increases in the number of people arriving in the UK we have been faced with no alternative but to temporarily accommodate some asylum seekers in hotels.

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“These hotels are only used as a last resort but as a provider of accommodation services on behalf of the Home Office we have a responsibility to find accommodation for the asylum seekers that are being placed in our care.

“The Serco team is working extremely hard to move people into dispersed social housing as rapidly as possible.”

A question mark has hung over the hotel for the last few weeks.

Earlier this month, the Best Western Hotel group revealed the Great Northern Hotel had cut its ties with the brand and given notice that it would stop using its booking service before the end of the year.

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Repeated requests to entrepreneur, Michael Chittenden, who is named as ‘a person with significant control’ of the Great Northern Hotel in documents filed at Companies House, for a response to concerns about the hotel were not answered.