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Trafford councillors angered by decision on asylum seekers
A DECISION to place more than 100 asylum seekers at Sale’s Amblehurst Hotel has sparked shock and outrage among Trafford Conservative and Labour councillors.
The ruling Tories said they were given just 48 hours' notice for what will be a nine-week placement at the hotel on Washway Road.
The group of asylum seekers comprises 31 families from mixed nationalities and the council is angry not to have had a say in the decision.
An emergency meeting of the Conservative group was held on Tuesday in a bid to defer the transfer of the asylum seekers to Trafford.
Cllr Matthew Colledge, leader of Trafford Council, said: “To be given less than 48 hours notice of the imposition of a large contingent of asylum seekers is frankly ludicrous.
“I have asked, along with partners from the NHS, for the decision to be deferred but this is not to be. It is intensely irritating that as council leader I have had no opportunity to influence the decision at all.”
Cllr Colledge said he was sympathetic to the plight of asylum seekers but expressed concern over the strain that could be put on Trafford’s services.
Cllr Colledge said: “I recognise that some asylum seekers are escaping from appalling situations and that may include the children arriving in Trafford. However with schools and GP surgeries full in the Sale area I question the logic of choosing this location.
“We will of course work with the NHS and the police to ensure that there are no detrimental effects upon our local community and I am seeking assurances that this will only be a one off instance.”
Cllr David Acton, leader of Trafford’s Labour group, said: “This is an appalling situation. It seems to me that SERCO, who are a private company appointed by the Government to deal with Asylum Seekers, are incompetent. The Government is wrong to expect any local Authority to try to deal with a situation like this where 104 Asylum Seekers are sent to an area, without prior notice, and have not had any time to be prepared to receive them. It is an absolute shambles and unacceptable.”
Ashton on Mersey ward councillor Brian Rigby, where the Amblehurst is located, said ‘ I'm totally shocked as a ward councillor, that myself and my ward colleagues were given 48 hours notice.
“It flIes in the face of all that is reasonable that SERCO, the company placing the asylum seekers, felt that there was absolutely no need to consult with ourselves as Ward Councillors or the local authority.”
But a spokesman for SERCO said: “Serco provides accommodation services in the north west of England for asylum seekers on behalf of the Home Office. We are currently using the Amblehurst Hotel to temporarily accommodate a number of Asylum Seekers who were previously being looked after in Liverpool. In due course these people will be found further housing throughout the north west of England pending the outcome of the Home office review into their eligibility to claim asylum. At all times we work closely with the local authorities, the Home Office and local services including the Police, Health and Education bodies to carefully manage the safe and appropriate accommodation of asylum seekers in our care.”
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