UK councils lose appeals to stop hotels being used to accommodate migrants

Almost 40,000 have entered the UK by crossing the Channel in small boats this year

A UK council has lost its bid to stop asylum seekers being housed at the Hull Humber View hotel in North Ferriby in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Nicky Harley / The National
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Two UK councils have lost bids for High Court injunctions to stop hotels housing asylum seekers.

The number of people reaching the UK in small boats from France after navigating busy shipping lanes has reached almost 40,000 this year.

The Home Office has been criticised for overcrowded asylum centres.

On Friday, East Riding of Yorkshire Council asked the High Court to continue an interim injunction preventing migrants being accommodated at the Humber View Hotel, near Hull.

Residents were upset at the use of the hotel, which is in a remote village with few amenities.

Ipswich Borough Council also asked for the extension of an interim injunction to stop further asylum seekers being placed at the four-star Novotel hotel in Ipswich city centre, where 72 people were already being housed.

Lawyers for the local authorities argued at a hearing in London this month that there had been an “unauthorised material change of use” under planning rules through the Home Office’s attempts to book accommodation in those areas.

They argued the interim court orders could be extended by four to six weeks before a final hearing on the issues in the cases.

However, in a ruling on Friday afternoon, Mr Justice Holgate refused to extend the injunctions.

Discussing the hotel in Ipswich, the judge said: “It is said that the Novotel is the largest hotel in the centre of Ipswich and that the loss of the accommodation would be damaging to the hospitality and leisure economy of the town, given its proximity to restaurants and bars.

“It is arguable that this alleged harm is a planning consideration.”

However, he added: “The continuation of the injunction would also cause other important harm in each case.

“The asylum seekers who would be accommodated at these two hotels are entitled to have their claims for asylum dealt with.

“Some will be successful. Some will not. It is not disputed that the merits of those claims are of no relevance in these proceedings.

A young child is carried from a Border Force vessel after arriving in Dover, Kent, following a small boat incident in the Channel. Picture date: Saturday November 12, 2022.

“What is relevant, however, is the statutory duty of the [Home Office] to provide accommodation for destitute asylum seekers who would otherwise be homeless.

“In reality, if either or both of the injunctions were to be continued, the Home Office would have to look for accommodation elsewhere.

“It is clear from the evidence that it is difficult to secure hotels suitable for single-use contracts. The supply is limited.

“I consider that the factors in favour of discharging the injunction clearly outweigh those in favour of continuing it.”

Friday’s ruling follows a failed bid by Stoke-on-Trent City Council on November 2 to continue an interim injunction preventing migrants from being housed in the 88-room North Stafford Hotel close to the city’s railway station.

The Home Office is presently spending £7m a day to house migrants in hotels.

On Saturday, more migrants arrived in the UK after Channel crossings resumed for the first time this month after a spell of bad weather.

Groups were pictured in the early hours at Border Force facilities in Dover, Kent, for the first time since October 31.

The provisional total of arrivals for 2022 had been 39,913 before the weekend, with the figure inching closer to 40,000.

Updated: November 12, 2022, 5:32 PM