NEW OWNER OF QUEENS HOTEL OWNS SECOND HOTEL EXPOSED BY BBC TV – Asylum seekers removed by Home Office
THE NEW OWNER of the Queens hotel in Church Road also owns a Croydon hotel which was the subject of a BBC TV investigation, says Croydon North MP Steve Reed.
Mr Reed’s revelation comes as the Home Office have apparently moved all 791 asylum seekers from the premises.
In a statement this week Mr Reed told how he had discovered the hotel’s new owner “also owns the notorious Gilroy Court Hotel in Croydon. “This hotel was exposed by the BBC and local press for the squalid conditions homeless families suffered after being placed there.
“An environmental health officer described it as ‘damp, dingy and totally inadequate’ with evidence of vermin, overcrowding and fire risks.
“One resident described conditions there as ‘inhuman’ while another was covered in sores from an infested bed leading Government ministers to condemn conditions in the hotel as ‘clearly unacceptable’.
“Despite all this, the Home Office has entered into a four-month contract worth hundreds of thousands of pounds with the same hotel owner.
“The Tory Immigration Minister must explain why he has let the Home Office do business with a landlord with such a shocking track record.
“Local people want to know whether the hotel will be used for this purpose again, whether there will be any cap on numbers to prevent overcrowding, and whether the money paid to block-book the hotel for four months was paid back after the asylum seekers were removed early.
“Crystal Palace is a diverse and welcoming place and people are keen to support genuine asylum seekers, but there are real concerns about cramming so many vulnerable people into a single hotel without adequate support available for them or the local community.
The Home Office must explain what safeguards they have in place to avoid placing asylum seekers with slum landlords.”
The statement says local campaigners, backed by Steve Reed, have forced the Home Office to remove 791 asylum seekers placed without warning in the hotel.
“Dozens of local people contacted Steve worried about the lack of appropriate support for the asylum seekers, many traumatised by experiences in war zones only to be crammed up to nine-to-a-room in the hotel.
“The Home Office block-booked the entire hotel for four months without consultation, planning or preparation. “Following outrage in the national media the Home Office relocated the asylum seekers, but there are still big questions to answer.”
A Croydon council spokesman told News From Crystal Palace: “These residents have now moved elsewhere so no further inspections are required on that basis.”
A copy of Steve Reed’s correspondence with immigration minister James Brokenshire MP is available at the Steve Reed MP website: www.stevereedmp.co.uk
Further reading: BBC News website Councils leaving homeless families in B&Bs too long – 4 October 2012