A hotel in the northwest of England shut down indefinitely on Monday after its new owners secured a government contract to house asylum seekers, it has emerged.
The Park Hall Hotel in Charnock Richard, Preston, only informed its staff of the sudden closure on Sunday evening, confirming to them via a text message that the hotel would soon be used to accommodate asylum seekers and that they would need to reapply for their jobs, with no guarantee that they would remain in employment.
All pre-booked events at the hotel for the next few months have been canceled.
The announcement infuriated locals and customers alike, with many who had their weddings booked at the hotel turning up at the establishment on Monday to question what would be happening to their reservation.
Police attended the hotel on Monday as angry customers sought an explanation for what was going on and demanded refunds.
A hotel spokesperson has since explained that the establishment will soon be under new management, with the incoming owners having signed an agreement with Serco, a government contractor, to house asylum seekers.
“The owners have told us that the hotel is sold and the new company has signed a deal with Serco,” a hotel spokesperson confirmed to local media.
“Understandably, if some guests are not happy they can cancel their event and claim a refund according to the owner.”
The text message sent to hotel staff confirmed that asylum seekers could be occupying rooms as early as next weekend.
“Yes, it’s true that refugees will be living here next weekend,” the message read. “We can reapply for our jobs and we have been told that a letter will be sent to us all.
“Thank you for being such an amazing team. I’m so sorry for us all. We sailed Park Hall to the very end. Take care and all the best.”
A couple who have had their wedding canceled in May told the Lancashire Post of their experience over the last 48 hours.
“On Sunday night, we saw on social media that the place was going to close. I dashed there late at night and the told me to come back 12 hours later and all would be sorted — but it wasn’t,” groom-to-be Adam Weate said.
“We got £1,000 of the promised refund but no explanations, including the rest of the money and all the guests who were booked in.
“The police were there and I tried taking some film at which a member of hotel staff assaulted me by pushing me away. It was all very upsetting and unpleasant,” he added.
Home Secretary Priti Patel told the Home Affairs Select Committee last Wednesday that more than 25,000 migrants were currently housed in hotels being used as temporary accommodation across the country following last year’s record level of illegal immigration via the English Channel.
Of the many thousands of asylum seekers who have had their applications refused, the government had deported just ten when it last reported the figures.
The Home Office also revealed that the government is currently spending £4.7 million (€5.6 million) a day on housing record numbers of asylum seekers in hotels across the country, a figure almost four times higher than it had previously disclosed to MPs.