UK councils lose appeals to stop hotels being used to accommodate migrants

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Two UK councils have lost bids for High Court injunctions to stop hotels from hosting asylum seekers.

The number of people reaching the UK in small boats from France after navigating busy shipping lanes has reached nearly 40,000 this year.

The Interior Ministry has been criticized for overcrowded asylum centers.

The East Riding of Yorkshire Council asked the High Court on Friday to uphold an interim injunction preventing migrants from being accommodated at the Humber View Hotel near Hull.

Residents were upset with the use of the hotel, which is in a remote village with few amenities.

Ipswich Borough Council has also sought an extension to an interim injunction to stop new asylum seekers being placed at the four-star Novotel hotel in Ipswich town centre, where 72 people were already staying hosted.

Local authority lawyers argued at a hearing in London this month that there had been an ‘unauthorized material change of use’ under planning rules thanks to attempts by the Department of Interior to book accommodation in these areas.

They argued that the court’s interim orders could be extended for four to six weeks before a final hearing on the issues in dispute.

However, in a ruling on Friday afternoon, Judge Holgate declined to extend the injunctions.

Discussing the hotel in Ipswich, the judge said: “The Novotel is said to be the largest hotel in the center of Ipswich and the loss of the accommodation would be detrimental to the hotel and leisure economy of the town , given its proximity to restaurants and bars.

“Arguably, this alleged harm is a planning consideration.”

However, he added: “Continuing the injunction would also cause other significant harms in each case.

“Asylum seekers who would be accommodated in these two hotels have the right to have their asylum application processed.

“Some will succeed. Some won’t. It is not disputed that the merits of these claims are irrelevant in the present proceedings.

“What is relevant, however, is the legal obligation of the [Home Office] provide housing for destitute asylum seekers who would otherwise be homeless.

“In reality, if either or both of the injunctions were to be upheld, the Home Office would have to seek accommodation elsewhere.

“It is clear from the evidence that it is difficult to find hotels suitable for single-use contracts. The offer is limited.

“I consider that the factors in favor of enforcing the injunction clearly outweigh those in favor of its continuation.”

Friday’s decision follows a failed bid by Stoke-on-Trent City Council on November 2 to uphold an interim injunction preventing migrants from being accommodated at the 88-room North Stafford Hotel near the city’s train station .

The Home Office is currently spending £7million a day to house migrants in hotels.

More migrants arrived in the UK on Saturday after Channel crossings resumed for the first time this month following a spell of bad weather.

Groups were photographed in the early morning hours at Border Force facilities in Dover, Kent, for the first time since October 31.

The provisional total of arrivals for 2022 was 39,913 before the weekend, with the figure approaching 40,000.

Updated: November 12, 2022, 5:32 PM


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