Amblehurst will cease to house asylum seekers by February

Messenger Newspapers: The Amblehurst Hotel The Amblehurst Hotel

AS the councillors for Ashton upon Mersey, the ward in which the Amblehurst Hotel is located, we welcome the news that Serco, acting on behalf of the Home Office, is to cease using the hotel to temporarily accommodate asylum seekers.

This matter arose, with no notice given to Trafford Council and the ward councillors, before some asylum seekers actually arrived. Since then, we have been working hard with the council and others seeking a more sensible approach than the one that Serco had sprung upon Sale. We have also been re-assuring residents who have been in contact.

Following strong representations, the council has been informed by Serco that they will not move any more asylum seekers into the Amblehurst. They are now working on dispersing the current residents to other accommodation in stages as soon as possible. We are told that the confirmed end date for the use of the hotel is February 4, 2014.

We 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 believe this country has a proud record of accepting genuine asylum seekers, some of whom are fleeing from persecution for all sorts of reasons. Given that the asylum seekers at the Amblehurst hotel were placed there with absolutely no notice, the response of the council and the community has been magnificent.

As ward councillors, we are proud of the community response. Sale Square Mile, a network of local people, businesses and local churches, is offering assistance.

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 currently in Sale seeking asylum in this country are properly supported until decisions are made about their futures.

John Lamb, Brian Rigby and Mike Whetton, councillors for Ashton upon Mersey Ward

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