Great Yarmouth beach hotels cannot be used to accommodate refugees

Great Yarmouth - Alexey_Fedoren/iStockphoto

Great Yarmouth – Alexey_Fedoren/iStockphoto

A Supreme Court judge has ruled that beach hotels in Great Yarmouth cannot be used to house refugees.

Judge Judge Holgate issued an ongoing injunction that meant Serco, under Home Office’s contract, could not use hotels in the Norfolk resort to accommodate immigrants.

The town’s lawmaker, Brandon Lewis, called the move “a victory for common sense”.

The council had taken a temporary injunction after Serco planned to use the Villa Rose Hotel as an emergency accommodation for asylum seekers.

Great Yarmouth County Council argued that waterfront hotels were covered by a specific municipal planning policy that prevented them from being used as hostels rather than hotels, and therefore should not be used as temporary accommodation for refugees.

He said the policy was put in place to protect the town’s tourism industry so that 59 hotels are available for vacationers.

“Planning policies were not taken into account”

Mr. Judge Holgate said he would allow an injunction issued by a Supreme Court judge to remain in effect, adding: “The location of the hotel within the waterfront policy area is important.

“From the evidence from the Ministry of the Interior and Serco, it is clear that planning policies were not taken into account to see if the site is located within an area subject to strong and open development control, leading to a breach of planning control.”

He added that asylum seekers are housed in other Great Yarmouth hotels that are not within the area covered by the council’s policy.

The hotel will be closed to the public in terms of both accommodation and restaurant,” he said. “There is little or no expenditure by the asylum seekers in the town, which strikes me as a particularly relevant factor.”

Council praised for ‘bold leadership’

A spokesperson for Great Yarmouth County Council said it was “delighted” that the importance of the council’s planning policy was recognized.

“We look forward to the opportunity to fully demonstrate our cause to ensure that hotels in the most important and sensitive area of ​​this seaside town are protected and continue to contribute to our vital tourism economy,” the spokesperson said.

“It is important to emphasize that we have repeatedly encouraged Ministry of Interior and its agents Serco to engage in dialogue with us so that we can help identify more suitable places to temporarily accommodate refugees. Whatever the decision today, we are open to informed and constructive dialogue.”

“This is a clear victory for common sense. It is absolutely wrong to harm tourism areas by confiscating hotels for their accommodation while their claims are being investigated. This policy does not solve the problem, it just creates another problem,” Lewis said.

He said he took “bold leadership” from the county council and its leader, Carl Smith, to pursue legal action.

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