The Home Office has confirmed that asylum seekers are set to arrive at the Stradey Park Hotel in Llanelli over the coming weeks, despite strong concerns from parts of the local community in the village of Furnace, where the four star facility is situated.
A spokesperson for the Home Office said today (July 28): “We note the outcome of the High Court proceedings which have granted Stradey Park Hotel’s owners access to the site.
“We acknowledge there are strong concerns from parts of the local community, and the Home Office will continue to work closely with local partners on a careful and considered plan to move asylum seekers to the hotel in a phased approach over the coming weeks.
“The Home Office has a legal obligation to support asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute.”
The situation surrounding the Stradey Park Hotel and plans by the Home Office to move 241 asylum seekers into the four star facility, echoes a scary retread of what occurred at the former Military of Defence barracks in Penally back in September 2020, with a complete lack of consultation undertaken for local residents and even the Local Authorities.
Carmarthenshire County Council has said it is still considering all legal options that are available to the authority, whilst Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn wrote again last week to Home Secretary Suella Braveman, calling for a ‘pause and review’ of the proposals, with his calls coming following serious and escalating tensions in the area that are causing safety concerns for both local residents and contractors on site.
“I would further reiterate the importance of proactive communication from the Home Office in relation to this matter, both with local service providers and with the public,” he said.
“It is disappointing to see once again a lack of local engagement or any form of consultation by the Home Office with local service providers to understand the impact of locating in excess of 200 asylum seekers at the site, which has resulted in unnecessary pressure being placed on local resources and service providers,” continued Police and Crime Commissioner Mr Llywelyn.
Meanwhile, the hotel owners of the hotel and spa have made an application to the High Court to prevent campaigners from of the community in Furnace from entering its grounds protesting against the controversial plans.
There has also been outrage after almost 100 people working at the hotel were made redundant in light of the plans.
In this instance, Cllr Darren Price, Leader of Carmarthenshire Council has been vocal in condemning the Home Office’s conduct, remarking: “We believe that the UK Government’s approach is wrong and will continue to lobby for a change of approach to ensure the needs of the local community are taken into account. In terms of loss of jobs, the loss of a key tourism asset, cancellation of weddings and significant local tensions we again implore the UK Government to put a stop to this plan.”
Back in Pembrokeshire, it was County Councillor for the Penally ward at the time Cllr Jon Preston who fought the corner for the local community, stating: “I am appalled at the way in which this situation is being managed!” in firing criticism at the Home Office and Welsh Secretary of State.