Bucks Council to investigate reports of Buckingham hotel being used to house 140 asylum seekers

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Bucks Council is seeking correspondence from the Home Office addressing intelligence suggesting that a hotel in Buckingham will be used to house asylum seekers.

In Wednesday’s (21 September) full Bucks Council meeting, leader Martin Tett announced a hotel in Buckingham was being earmarked for use in a Government scheme.

Under the proposals the Bucks Council Leader believes as many as 140 people could be moved into the hotel.

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Currently, the hotel, which the Home Office has instructed The Bucks Herald not to name in this article, is a commercial building.

Bucks Council Leader Martin TettBucks Council Leader Martin Tett
Bucks Council Leader Martin Tett

It is ran by a well-known hotel chain, which operates throughout the UK.

The chain confirmed it owns the hotel in question and it was currently closed to bookings.

A spokesperson for the hotel group said: “All our hotels are independently owned and managed and operational decisions to close properties are taken by the hotel owners and management teams. We provide our member hotels with marketing, sales and revenue support.”

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When contacted by The Bucks Herald, the Home Office denied Councillor Tett’s version of events.

A Government spokesperson said: "The Home Office does not comment on operational arrangements for individual hotels.

“The use of hotels to house asylum seekers is unacceptable and we are working with local authorities to find appropriate long term accommodation across the United Kingdom.”

When temporary accommodation is used to give people moving to the UK somewhere to eat and sleep, it is often organised by the companies themselves in collaboration with local authorities, the Home Office states.

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Following up on his address to local councillors on Wednesday, Councillor Tett told The Bucks Herald this morning: “Buckinghamshire Council has reached out to the Home Office for information about their use of the [Redacted] in Buckingham and their plans to change its use from a hotel to a hostel for asylum seekers. To date, the Home Office has not given us either details or assurances about their plans.“When it comes to supporting refugees, Buckinghamshire has a strong track record, we already have 91 asylum seekers in Bucks, including 50 unaccompanied asylum seeking children. We have also proactively welcomed over 1,200 refugees from Ukraine, supported over 50 Afghan refugees to resettle in Buckinghamshire and are providing well-established wrap around support to them.

“We have urged the Home Office to have a dialogue with us so that we can continue to support the overall asylum programme in a way that balances the cumulative impact on local services – but have not yet had a response to our correspondence - we now have no option but to consider legal and regulatory enforcement action to prevent an extra burden being placed on already stretched local services such as health, transport and education.”

The figures cited by Councillor Tett comes from Government recorded data which is accurate up to August 2022.

The hotel chain whose property would be used for the immigration project, has given up running another property in Bucks.

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When approached by The Bucks Herald, the company said it did not know who was now in control of its former property.

This is due to all hotels in its group being independently owned with operational decisions also being made at a local level.