Calls for Home Office to consult locals about housing asylum seekers after 'shock and anger' in Hull
East Riding Councillors passed their motion after asylum seekers began arriving at North Ferriby’s Humber View Hotel on Wednesday, November 16.
Liberal Democrat Coun Margaret Corless said her motion came after the revealing of plans at short notice shocked and angered people in South Hunsley, the ward where the hotel is sited.
Conservative Council Leader Coun Jonathan Owen said the issue was not asylum seekers themselves but about informing the public and avoiding people being put in unsuitable locations.
It comes as Councillors also heard the authority’s High Court failed challenge against the Home Office plans cost a total of £8,049 in legal and court fees.
Coun Owen said he would leave it to others to decide whether it was a price worth paying to defend democracy and local residents.
People arrived in the hotel, in Ferriby High Road, on Wednesday after the High Court ruled against the Council’s bid to extend its injunction against its use on planning grounds.
Coun Corless said prior consultation with locals could have reduced fear and anger about the plans and said it was outrageous that the Council was on the back foot.
She added in the full Council meeting that using hotels was unsuitable given some 40,000 people are waiting between one and three years for asylum applications to be processed.
Her motion also called for the Home Office not to use remote locations for accommodation amid concerns those staying in Humber View will be too far from local services.
The ward Councillor said: “This would be just about acceptable if the system worked as it should, but it doesn’t, it’s broken.
“I appreciate it would be expensive and troublesome to do a consultation, but using hotels is already costing millions of pounds a day.
“North Ferriby is a tolerant and nice community, if any trouble came it would not come from within the community.
“The first incident we’ve had was of someone travelling there to graffiti the hotel sign, that isn’t a good reason to not inform residents.”
Liberal Democrat Leader Coun David Nolan said he used to stay in the hotel when commuting for work and those staying there had to have a car in his experience.
Coun Nolan said: “They’d have to walk a long way to get to services, asylum seekers sitting in hotel rooms with little to do aren’t getting a four star experience.
“We need to start treating them with respect and dignity.”
Conservative Coun Julie Abraham, also of South Hunsley, said the use of the Humber View Hotel took the tourist pound out of the local economy.
Coun Abraham said: “It’s a very difficult problem and I don’t think anyone has any answers.
“I want to make sure that local residents, who have very differing views on this, are best equipped to deal with it.”
Coun Owen said a Home Office consultation could have avoided people being housed in the totally unsuitable location of the Humber View Hotel in the first place.
The leader said: “This isn’t about our views on asylum seekers, this is about representing the public so they know what’s happening.”