Concerns over a proposal to house up to 150 asylum seekers at Kettering’s Royal Hotel have been raised with the UK Immigration Secretary.
Kettering MP Philip Hollobone (Con) spoke in the House of Commons on Wednesday November 16 and called the Home Office’s plan ‘shameful’.
He called for an urgent meeting with Minister Robert Jenrick (Con) and told him he couldn’t think of a worse place than the historic Market Place hotel, which once hosted Queen Victoria.
Mr Hollobone told the House how the National Crime Agency had confirmed that Albanian organized crime gangs were transporting young men to the UK to run cannabis farms, and then being transported to communities to ‘infiltrate the local crime scene ” after applying for asylum.
He said: “One such community is Kettering, where there is a shameful proposal to house potentially up to 150 single Albanian men in a 50-room hotel with no kitchen, right in the city centre.
“It’s the biggest night-time economy in North Northamptonshire, and it’s close to a family park. These young lads will be walking around in all sorts of trouble.
“I can’t think of a worse location for an asylum hostel. Will the Minister meet with me urgently so that I can explain to him why the proposal should not go ahead?
“From where I sit, at present Her Majesty’s Government are not protecting our coasts or my local community from an increase in imported crime.”
Mr Jenrick replied: “My hon. A friend raised some serious concerns and I would be more than happy to meet with him. He and I have already spoken, but a formal meeting would be an obvious next step.
A few days later, their request was rejected by the High Court, but because NNC also issued a temporary stop notice – alleging a breach of planning control – the asylum seekers cannot be transferred there without that the hotel does not risk a possible lawsuit.
It is not yet clear what will happen when the temporary shutdown notice expires in early December.
NNC leader Cllr Jason Smithers (Con) previously said: ‘North Northamptonshire Council takes its responsibility to asylum seekers very seriously. The council have already offered to have discussions with the Home Office to help identify suitable hotels in the area and we welcome any information they can provide that will enable us to locate suitable alternative accommodation.
“We do not believe that the Royal Hotel in Kettering is the appropriate place to accommodate asylum seekers for a number of reasons. We do not believe that the proposals have been properly considered to ensure the best possible welfare of the asylum seekers. asylum seekers and the local communities in which they are housed.
This month hundreds of refugees had to be moved from an immigration center in Manston, Kent, after fears it had become dangerously overcrowded.