Council confirm use of hotel for asylum seekers

Date published: 01 December 2021

Oldham Council has confirmed that one of Oldham's hotels is to be used as accommodation for asylum seekers.

It's understood the Victoria Hotel in Chadderton has stopped taking guest bookings, and cancelled already-booked events in order to accommodate the Home Office plans.

A regular guest at the hotel told the Chronicle: "I'm absolutely furious.  I've had some of my future bookings cancelled, and I know other guests have been treated the same.

"I've become friendly with the staff, and they had no idea what was happening.  They don't even know if their jobs are safe."

A member of staff from the hotel who did not want to be named confirmed that bookings were not being taken for the foreseeable future, and that staff were only informed about the move last week.

Cllr Arooj Shah, leader of Oldham Council confirmed that the Home Office has informed the council that they intend to use "one of Oldham's hotels" as accommodation for asylum seekers as part of the Government’s obligations under the Refugee Convention.

"Oldham has a proud history of welcoming people of all nationalities, and we are ready and willing to play our part in helping these vulnerable people who have been through so much.

"That said, we do not have a choice in how many asylum seekers we accommodate here in Oldham. When planning how and where to accommodate asylum seekers, regional provider Serco produces a list of hotels for the Home Office, which then decides which hotels to use. As a result, there are a number of hotels now being used across Greater Manchester and nationally, to house asylum seekers and people recently evacuated from Afghanistan.

"While this is a temporary emergency solution, and we do not know exactly when these people will arrive or how long they will be here with us, what I am certain of is that Oldhamers will want to help, and make them as welcome as possible.

"We are currently working through a scheme for how people can donate items to help these new arrivals– many of whom will have entered the UK, into this terrible weather, with nothing at all – and will provide further information as soon as we have it.

"People can also help by donating to the Greater Manchester Migrant Destitution Fund online."

Compass Hospitality, owners of the Victoria Hotel have not responded to our enquiries.

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