Coventry City Council says it was forced to use legal powers to prevent a number of asylum seekers arriving at a Coventry hotel this week.

It is believed some 17 coaches containing the group were set to arrive at the Royal Court Hotel, on Tamworth Road in the Keresley area of the city, yesterday (Friday, August 29).

The group was being put up at the Coventry hotel by Home Office contractors.

But the city council said that the decision to use the hotel as a hostel had been made “with no consultation with the city council”.

Councillor Abdul Salam Khan, deputy leader of Coventry City Council and whose portfolio covers enforcement, said although the city was “open and diverse”, they had to act because the “good will [of the city] is being taken advantage of”.

He pointed to two other hotels in the city already being used by the Home Office to house asylum aseekers, and said specialist health services are already struggling to support those already in hotels.

As a result, the council used their legal planing powers to prevent the arrival of the group.

It is not clear what alternative arrangement was made for them.

Full statement from Coventry City Council

Councillor Abdul Salam Khan, deputy leader of Coventry City Council and whose portfolio covers enforcement, said: “The decision to use our legal planning powers to stop the arrival of asylum seekers to the Royal Court Hotel was not taken lightly but we believe we were left with no alternative.

“This decision to use the hotel as a hostel was taken with no consultation with the city council and when we found out and objected, our views were ignored.

“The Home Office’s contractors already use two city hotels to provide temporary accommodation and we believe that being made to have more is disproportionate for a city our size.

“Specialist health services are already struggling to support and manage the demand from those in existing hotels and further arrivals will require the commissioning of additional health provision, for which the source of funding is unclear.

“This has been a difficult decision, but we believe it is the right one.

“Coventry is justly proud of its status of being an open and diverse city that promotes peace and reconciliation. Coventry is a City of Sanctuary and has been a voluntary asylum dispersal city since 1999. Although this has been, and remains, the right thing to do we have done so when other towns and cities have refused to.

“But it appears that Coventry’s good will is being taken advantage of with no say in the increasing numbers being sent to the city who come with little or no funding and support which is not in their interests or ours.

“All we are trying to ensure is a fair deal for the city and the service users at a time when we need all of the support we can to manage the massive challenge of coronavirus.”

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