Asylum seekers in Sale provoke lively debate

Messenger Newspapers: The asylum seekers arrive at the Amblehurst Hotel The asylum seekers arrive at the Amblehurst Hotel

THE decision to house more than 100 asylum seekers in Sale’s Amblehurst Hotel has sparked a lively debate among Messenger readers.

Feelings have been running high on both sides - with Trafford’s politicians expressing serious concern over the short notice they were given for what is expected to be a nine week placement.

Alex McCann from Altrincham HQ criticised Messenger for the way we reported the issue and he also criticised the leaders of Trafford’s Conservative and Labour groups for their approach to this contentious issue.

Mr McCann said: “Sale has a population of 50,000+, is not a small village and should be there to offer help to those who need it. In what is supposed to the giving season, our local politicians are playing the game of there is "No Room At The Inn" and yet come the week of festivities will take any photo opportunity to present themselves as Christian and of faith.

“Matthew Colledge and David Acton need to look at their own political parties failings rather than pitting those who are struggling financially in their own wards against those who are suffering in other countries.”

But Trafford Council leader Matthew Colledge said Mr McCann had over reacted to the situation.

Cllr Colledge said: “Mr McCann seems to be over reacting to the comments I made – which clearly expressed considerable irritation at the bringing in of 104 people with no real notice, no consultation and no option to find alternative solutions whether it be here in Trafford or elsewhere.”

Cllr David Acton, leader of Trafford’s Labour group, said he was sympathetic to the plight of asylum seekers.

“I was critical of SERCO and government Immigration service in the handling of asylum seekers. To my knowledge Trafford has not previously received asylum seekers before and therefore it is wrong to send 104 asylum seekers to the borough without actually discussing beforehand the needs of the people seeking asylum.

“I believe strongly we should always provide help and refuge for people who are fleeing from desperate and life threatening situations.”

A spokesman for SERCO, the company responsible for placing the asylum seekers 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.”

Comments (4)

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11:39pm Tue 10 Dec 13

GordonW says...

I will be amazed if the Amblehurst gets any bookings from paying customers ever again - it will simply become known as the asylum seekers hotel. If that happens, it will mean that Sale will either have a permanent community of asylum seekers or the hotel will attract so few guests in the future it will go out of business - and therefore probably be demolished to make way for yet another block of offices. Sad end for a once good hotel....
I will be amazed if the Amblehurst gets any bookings from paying customers ever again - it will simply become known as the asylum seekers hotel. If that happens, it will mean that Sale will either have a permanent community of asylum seekers or the hotel will attract so few guests in the future it will go out of business - and therefore probably be demolished to make way for yet another block of offices. Sad end for a once good hotel.... GordonW

1:44pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Stevesmith9737 says...

I wonder if Alex McCann of Altrincham HQ, or anyone here has done any research before making comment. I bet if this was a hotel in the centre of Altrincham, his view may be different.

The fact that is may be Christmas has nothing to do with this whatsoever. Why does it matter what time of year that it is? It could be the middle of July and the issues would still be the same. Perhaps following on from Mr McCann's soundbyte, he will give his December earnings to charity as an act of goodwill...

David Acton's comments seem odd too. I used to live in Old Trafford and paid Council tax to Trafford. I am 100% certain that asylum seekers have resided in Trafford not too far from where I lived. Perhaps not in Sale but definately in Trafford.

Anyway, let's look at the facts here and ask the pertinent questions:

1) Why the Amblehurst? There are significant numbers of hotels in the north west that would have cost Serco substantially less which can only mean that there is some kind of carve up between Serco and the owners of the hotel....... Can anyone seriously believe that owners of the Amblehurst will turn away any future request from Serco for temporary accomodation?

2) 104 people and 50+ children is a lot of people. I presume lots of these children will be young. Taking on 'no room at the inn', I'm told that all of the local primary schools are full to capacity with lots of parents being unable to get their child into the nearest school unless they live on top of the school. I walk past Springfield most days and can only assume the new building there is to support the oversubscription from the existing community.

It's also difficult to get a Doctor's appointment and there aren't any NHS dentists in sale that i know of.

Please can someone ask Mr McCann, (or Trafford) where he expects the resource to educate and care for these people will come from ?

If the 9 weeks becomes a 'first wave' that could mean 500 people a year, including 250 children extra in the Sale area who will all need supporting. That is a lot of people and a lot of costs. Even then, will Serco move these people elsewhere or leave them in Sale to 'settle'?

Of course we should be sympathetic to the needs of asylum seekers though lets not ignore the fact that plenty of them do get refused.

Serco have moved 100+ people into an area and into a community where Doctors are full and school have zero capacity to accept any new children as they can't even service the local community.

If it is true that this is only a temporary arrangement, then fair enough, but can anyone really believe that this true? If the Amblehurst becomes an asylum seeker hotel, the pressure on the resources within Trafford, and particularly Sale will quickly run into problems.

Who will suffer? The Aslyum Seekers - no, of course not as they will be cared for. It will be the people of Sale who will suffer the burden and see the negative effects that it will have on the community and the pressure on the resources that this could create.
I wonder if Alex McCann of Altrincham HQ, or anyone here has done any research before making comment. I bet if this was a hotel in the centre of Altrincham, his view may be different. The fact that is may be Christmas has nothing to do with this whatsoever. Why does it matter what time of year that it is? It could be the middle of July and the issues would still be the same. Perhaps following on from Mr McCann's soundbyte, he will give his December earnings to charity as an act of goodwill... David Acton's comments seem odd too. I used to live in Old Trafford and paid Council tax to Trafford. I am 100% certain that asylum seekers have resided in Trafford not too far from where I lived. Perhaps not in Sale but definately in Trafford. Anyway, let's look at the facts here and ask the pertinent questions: 1) Why the Amblehurst? There are significant numbers of hotels in the north west that would have cost Serco substantially less which can only mean that there is some kind of carve up between Serco and the owners of the hotel....... Can anyone seriously believe that owners of the Amblehurst will turn away any future request from Serco for temporary accomodation? 2) 104 people and 50+ children is a lot of people. I presume lots of these children will be young. Taking on 'no room at the inn', I'm told that all of the local primary schools are full to capacity with lots of parents being unable to get their child into the nearest school unless they live on top of the school. I walk past Springfield most days and can only assume the new building there is to support the oversubscription from the existing community. It's also difficult to get a Doctor's appointment and there aren't any NHS dentists in sale that i know of. Please can someone ask Mr McCann, (or Trafford) where he expects the resource to educate and care for these people will come from ? If the 9 weeks becomes a 'first wave' that could mean 500 people a year, including 250 children extra in the Sale area who will all need supporting. That is a lot of people and a lot of costs. Even then, will Serco move these people elsewhere or leave them in Sale to 'settle'? Of course we should be sympathetic to the needs of asylum seekers though lets not ignore the fact that plenty of them do get refused. Serco have moved 100+ people into an area and into a community where Doctors are full and school have zero capacity to accept any new children as they can't even service the local community. If it is true that this is only a temporary arrangement, then fair enough, but can anyone really believe that this true? If the Amblehurst becomes an asylum seeker hotel, the pressure on the resources within Trafford, and particularly Sale will quickly run into problems. Who will suffer? The Aslyum Seekers - no, of course not as they will be cared for. It will be the people of Sale who will suffer the burden and see the negative effects that it will have on the community and the pressure on the resources that this could create. Stevesmith9737

5:08pm Fri 13 Dec 13

quackers55 says...

why was my post removed ? People of Sale and Stretford have a right to be told that some of these people are pick pockets and targetting old people.
why was my post removed ? People of Sale and Stretford have a right to be told that some of these people are pick pockets and targetting old people. quackers55

5:46pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Councillor John Lamb, Ashton Upon Mersey Ward says...

GordonW wrote:
I will be amazed if the Amblehurst gets any bookings from paying customers ever again - it will simply become known as the asylum seekers hotel. If that happens, it will mean that Sale will either have a permanent community of asylum seekers or the hotel will attract so few guests in the future it will go out of business - and therefore probably be demolished to make way for yet another block of offices. Sad end for a once good hotel....
As an Ashton ward Councillor I very much welcome todays news that Serco are to cease using the Amblehurst Hotel in Sale as a base for asylum seekers. Following representations the Council has been informed by Serco (the Home Office’s contractor) that they will not move any more asylum seekers into the Amblehurst. They are now working on dispersing the current residents to their dispersal accommodation in stages as soon as possible. The confirmed end date for the use of the hotel is the 4th February 2014.
This country has a proud record of accepting genuine asylum seekers, some of whom are fleeing from persecution for all sorts of reasons- the asylum seekers accommodated in the Amblehurst hotel were placed there with absolutely no notice given to the Council but despite this the response of the Council has been magnificent. I am also very proud of the community response. Sale Square Mile, a network of local people, businesses and local churches is offering assistance.
I believe that dispersing families around Greater Manchester makes more sense than to concentrate them in one hotel in one borough - such an approach is unfair to both the asylum seekers and local residents, since as vulnerable people, they often require a great deal of support from overstretched services and the impact this can have on community cohesion.
We now need to continue the efforts of both the Council and its partners and the Sale community to ensure that the families and individuals in Sale seeking asylum in this country are supported throughout until decisions are made about their futures.

Councillor John Lamb
Ashton Upon Mersey Ward
[quote][p][bold]GordonW[/bold] wrote: I will be amazed if the Amblehurst gets any bookings from paying customers ever again - it will simply become known as the asylum seekers hotel. If that happens, it will mean that Sale will either have a permanent community of asylum seekers or the hotel will attract so few guests in the future it will go out of business - and therefore probably be demolished to make way for yet another block of offices. Sad end for a once good hotel....[/p][/quote]As an Ashton ward Councillor I very much welcome todays news that Serco are to cease using the Amblehurst Hotel in Sale as a base for asylum seekers. Following representations the Council has been informed by Serco (the Home Office’s contractor) that they will not move any more asylum seekers into the Amblehurst. They are now working on dispersing the current residents to their dispersal accommodation in stages as soon as possible. The confirmed end date for the use of the hotel is the 4th February 2014. This country has a proud record of accepting genuine asylum seekers, some of whom are fleeing from persecution for all sorts of reasons- the asylum seekers accommodated in the Amblehurst hotel were placed there with absolutely no notice given to the Council but despite this the response of the Council has been magnificent. I am also very proud of the community response. Sale Square Mile, a network of local people, businesses and local churches is offering assistance. I believe that dispersing families around Greater Manchester makes more sense than to concentrate them in one hotel in one borough - such an approach is unfair to both the asylum seekers and local residents, since as vulnerable people, they often require a great deal of support from overstretched services and the impact this can have on community cohesion. We now need to continue the efforts of both the Council and its partners and the Sale community to ensure that the families and individuals in Sale seeking asylum in this country are supported throughout until decisions are made about their futures. Councillor John Lamb Ashton Upon Mersey Ward Councillor John Lamb, Ashton Upon Mersey Ward

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