Hotel talks about its new arrangement with Home Office

Council services will be unaffected by Scalford Country House Hotel taking in asylum seekers this month and owners say residents will not be impacted by the arrangement.

Monday, 2nd August 2021, 3:37 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd August 2021, 3:55 pm
Part of the grounds at Scalford Country House Hotel EMN-210208-152524001

We reported on Friday that the hotel had struck a deal with the Home Office to house migrants for five days before they are found long term accommodation.

There will be security on site with no-one allowed to leave the hotel grounds to prevent any further transmission of coronavirus.

Some people contacted us by Facebook to voice concerns that the asylum seekers were being given preferential treatment over homeless residents in the Melton area.

But Melton Borough Council said it had nothing to do with the project and it would continue to house homeless local people, when they presented to the authority, in council properties and other local hotels.

Scalford Country House Hotel declined to give detailed information on its partnership with the Home Office but a spokesman for the management told the Melton Times today (Monday): “The hotel is suitable for this use and we are just trying to do what we can to help.

“People in the community won’t see any differences to their lives when this happens.

“A lot of people aren’t happy about it but it’s their opinion and they are entitled to it.”

The hotel is no longer taking bookings for individual rooms or group bookings for parties and weddings at the moment, with the arrangement with the Home Office set to last until November.

We have been told that some people have had bookings cancelled, including couples who were getting married.

The spokesman declined to comment on this except to say: “We have managed what we have needed to manage.”

The borough council released the following statement in relation to the development: “We are aware that Scalford County House Hotel has entered into an agreement with the Home Office to provide temporary, closed accommodation and support to asylum seekers.

“This arrangement is being led and managed by the Home Office.

“Whilst the borough council is not directly involved and there is no impact on local services or infrastructure anticipated, we will continue to liaise with key organisations and will provide any support required.”

The Home Office said it needed to use premises such as Scalford Country House Hotel to process newly-arrive migrants ‘safely and securely’.

A spokeswoman told the Melton Times this afternoon: “The asylum system is being exploited by criminal gangs who facilitate dangerous, unnecessary and illegal small boat crossings.

“Our Nationality and Borders bill will fix this broken system to deter these dangerous and illegal crossings.

“In the meantime, due to the unprecedented demand, we need to use temporary facilities such as hotels to manage demands on our existing accommodation and the immigration detention estate.

“Newly-arrived migrants will be processed in the same way they would be at other facilities.

“Using hotels allows us to do this safely and securely.”

Meanwhile, managers at Scalford Court Care Home, which shares the same rural site, have been talking to MP, Alicia Kearns, council officials, police officers and security firm, MTC, which is understood to be in charge of security at the hotel.

The care home released a statement to reassure families who have residents there that strict measures will be in place to prevent any mixing of occupants from the two venues.

Scalford Court Care Home said: “MTC have reassured us that the facility will be monitored closely 24 hours a day with staff on site.

“Our normal strict security measures will also remain in place and the local police for the area are upping their patrols in the area.

“Those seeking asylum will arrive at the hotel escorted and will remain there for five days, receiving Covid testing, and they are to remain in their rooms except for meals, unless they have a positive covid result, they will not be allowed to use the grounds around the hotel.

“Once the initial five days is over and they get a negative Covid test they will then be relocated to another facility.”

The statement adds: “We want to reassure all of our residents families that we are engaging in constant communication with both the MTC Group and the local police to ensure that our residents safety is a priority as always.”

MP Mrs Kearns says she has taken a keen interest in the arrangement to ensure there is minimal impact on the lives of local residents.

The move was confirmed this afternoon (Friday) by Melton MP Alicia Kearns, who said: “Scalford Country House Hotel has entered into an agreement with the Home Office to provide temporary, closed quarantine accommodation to asylum seekers for around five days before being moved to long-term accommodation.

“This agreement is until November.

“This will be a secure site, and I have made clear to the Home Office that I expect an intensive Covid testing regime.

“They have confirmed that this will be in place from day one.”