Peterborough MP issues challenge to council over use of Great Northern Hotel as refuge for asylum seekers

Call comes as local authority weighs up legal challenge
Peterborough MP Paul Bristow outside the Great Northern Hotel, in Peterborough.Peterborough MP Paul Bristow outside the Great Northern Hotel, in Peterborough.
Peterborough MP Paul Bristow outside the Great Northern Hotel, in Peterborough.

Council chiefs have been urged to ‘take a stand’ in the fight over a decision to place asylum seekers in a prominent Peterborough hotel.

The call comes as Peterborough City Council officers seek a legal opinion on a bid to make a court challenge against the use of the 170-year-old Great Northern Hotel as a refuge for asylum seekers.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But Peterborough MP Paul Bristow, who says the use of the hotel in Station Approach by the premises’ owners and the Home Office as a refuge for asylum seekers is inappropriate, has warned the council that to do nothing will not be acceptable.

The local authority has spent the last-month on a fact finding mission after 80 male asylum seekers were moved into the premises by the Home Office on November 11 last year.

The council has previously said the move could be regarded as a change of use of the venue and it might use planning powers to get the Home Office to remove the asylum seekers.

A council spokesperson has now said: “We have prepared a report and are seeking an independent legal view before we make a final decision on whether or not to start a court proceeding.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Basically, we are just triple checking our chances of success before going ahead.”

But Mr Bristow said: “It is right that the council receive all legal advice before making a decision.

"But at the same time the council must understand that if it sits back and does nothing then that will be interpreted as Peterborough accepting the unacceptable.

"Even if the council gets legal opinion that seems to give it a slim chance of winning, it is still important to take a stand.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"The Great Northern Hotel is one of our flagship hotels, its history, prominence and location mean it is not the right place to accommodate asylum seekers.”

Last November, the council withdraw an application for an injunction to stop the Great Northern Hotel being used by the Home Office to place asylum seekers.

It came after councils in Yorkshire and Ipswich failed to secure injunctions to stop hotels in their areas being used for asylum seekers.