Council claims £230k over failed asylum hotel

Aerial shot of the Stradey Park Hotel in Furnace
Plans by the Home Office to house up to 240 asylum seekers at Stradey Park Hotel in Furnace were scrapped

A council will claim £230,000 in costs from the Home Office over its failed plan to house asylum seekers in a hotel.

The scrapped proposal for Stradey Park Hotel in Llanelli saw council staff working more than 2,700 hours on what the leader of Carmarthenshire council Darren Price called a “fiasco".

He also called on the UK government to give local authorities more input in future.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are aware of the strong concerns from the local community as a result of now withdrawn Stradey Park proposal.

“The Home Office has a legal obligation to support asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute.”

Mr Price told a full meeting of the council that a claim would be made for costs of almost £230,000, which included lost registrar income from cancelled marriages at the venue, as well as officer time.

He said council officers had been pulled away from their primary roles at a time of “significant budget strain” to deal with a Home Office “fiasco” .

Outside Stradey Park hotel on Tuesday where crowds have gathered, there are also a couple of police officers standing there
Protest camps were set up outside the hotel after the asylum seeker plan was announced

“I have consistently stated that local government and the Welsh government should have a central role in developing an all-Wales approach to emergency asylum accommodation, as opposed to leaving it to a UK government which very often has no idea of the local context – as we have seen in the case of the Stradey Park hotel," he said.

Mr Price said leaders of all Welsh councils agreed on this approach and he understands the Welsh government had “now made that offer” to the UK government.

Force claims £300,000

The owners of the Stradey Park Hotel said they want to reopen it to the public and rebuild trust with the community

Mr Price said it was important the building did not remain empty for long.

“Having spoken to a number of people in Llanelli over recent weeks, it is clear that local people want to see the site either revert to its former use as a hotel, or developed into another asset which can bring benefit to the town, as quickly as possible,” he said.

Two weeks ago, Dyfed-Powys police and crime commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said he would try to reclaim about £300,000 of additional costs he said the force had incurred policing the hotel site.

Protests, including a large number of people gaining access into the hotel grounds, led to several arrests.