Plans to accommodate up to 324 asylum seekers in Blackpool’s Metropole Hotel have been put on hold – for now.
The relocation was due to take place tomorrow (Friday) despite Blackpool Council warning against it.
The council has told Britannia Hotels, which owns the Metropole, planning permission is required to close the hotel and convert it to a hostel.
Council leader Coun Lynn Williams said “every available power” would be used “to prevent the usage of the Metropole in the way that is intended.”
She said: “We have now been advised that the relocation of the asylum seekers to the Metropole Hotel has been paused and will not take place tomorrow (Friday September 10).
“However, our understanding is that the Home Office is continuing to pursue this plan.
“In that regard, our view remains exactly the same in that this is a wholly inappropriate and ill-conceived placement.
“We stand by our assertion that the Home Office has failed to satisfy any of the grave concerns raised by local services including the council, NHS, police, fire service and public health officials.
“Collectively we have requested answers to a number of questions relating to suitability of location, the timing of this placement and the need for a thorough risk assessment particularly in terms of the potential impact on these vulnerable and traumatised people.
“None of those questions have been answered to date and there is growing dismay over the way in which this situation has been handled.
“As a result, we will exercise every available power to prevent the usage of the Metropole in the way that is intended.
“We have served notice on Britannia Hotels advising that if they close the hotel and use it for the purpose of housing asylum-seekers they will need planning permission for a change of use of the building.
“If they ignore that advice, we will issue a temporary stop notice and enforce if necessary.”