Blackpool’s Metropole Hotel to close for three months amid asylum seeker discussions

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

MP for Blackpool South, Scott Benton, stressed that just because the hotel bookings have been cleared this does not mean that the placement is set to go ahead as discussions are still very much ongoing

 

Metropole Hotel, Blackpool
Metropole Hotel, Blackpool (Image: JThomas / Geograph)

A prominent Blackpool hotel will close to the public for three months as discussions on housing asylum seekers continue.

Earlier this month, Blackpool Council moved to block the placement of more than 300 asylum seekers at the Metropole Hotel amid concerns that the location is not appropriate.

The authority warned bosses at Britannia Hotels, which owns the venue, that planning permission would be required in order to house asylum seekers at the hotel.

The temporary halt to the plans was welcomed by MPs and council leaders, with Scott Benton MP for Blackpool South, saying that he was ‘delighted’ with the news.

However this morning (September 22) Metropole Hotel staff have confirmed to LancsLive that the venue will be closed to the public for three months from Friday (September 24). Staff did not confirm the reasons for the closure but confirmed that bookings are not being taken for guests witin this three-month period.

Last week Serco, which provides accommodation for asylum seekers on behalf of the Government, revealed that using hotels to house asylum seekers was a “last resort”.

Blackpool Council leader Councillor Williams said the Home Office and Serco had been unable to allay concerns from, police and ambulance authorities after stating the council had not be provided with any of the risk assessments that have been undertaken.

MP for Blackpool South, Scott Benton, found out about the decision a few weeks ago and previously said he felt “left in the dark on several important questions including where these people came from and how long they will require temporary accommodation.”

The minister stressed that just because the hotel bookings have been cleared once again does not mean that the placement is set to go ahead as discussions are still very much ongoing:

“My understanding is that the Home Office, Serco, the Metropole and Blackpool Council have been in discussions over the past few weeks”, Mr Benton MP said.

“I was delighted when there was a pause with the placement a few weeks ago. We know that that may not be permanent and that that could still go ahead.

“I am 100 per cent opposed. My position hasn’t changed. The location is completely inappropriate and the pressure it would put on our public services. Blackpool should not be the location for such a placement.

“I am in discussions with ministers to make sure they are aware of the opinions of local people and businesses and will await further developments with interest.”

LancsLive has approached Blackpool Council for comment.