Refugees no longer being housed at luxury hotel near Melton
A luxury hotel near Melton is no longer being used to temporarily house asylum-seekers after it was decided not to extend its contract with the Home Office.
Scalford Country House Hotel struck a deal back in July to give up its 80 bedrooms to people who were waiting for their status to be determined by the government.
Hundreds of people have been housed at the hotel, it is understood, with strict security in place within the grounds.
The arrangement prompted a huge community effort from local people donating clothing, toiletries and other provisions to the migrants who arrived in the country with hardly any possessions.
The move did prove controversial, however, with some guests having bookings cancelled at short notice, including couples who were getting married and birthday celebtrations.
The hotel said the contract was initially only until November and Melton MP Alicia Kearns told the Melton Times this morning (Tuesday): “Scalford Country House Hotel’s agreement with the Home Office to provide a temporary migrant COVID-19 quarantine hotel was due to end in November.
“I can confirm there will be no extension, the contract has now ended, and the hotel will no longer be used for that purpose.”
Migrants have stayed at the hotel for short periods of time of no more than five days before moving on to long-term accomodation, if they were allowed to stay, or to leave the country if their application was refused.
Pupils and staff at Melton’s Long Field Spencer Academy, volunteers at the town’s Storehouse and members of local churches got involved in collecting donated items.
Helen Cliff has been co-ordinating donations and collections through the Care4Calais charity and told us recently that she was moved to tears by the plight of refugees she met at the hotel during many visits.
Among the items she delivered with colleagues were training shoes, coats, jeans, bags, ruck sacks, playing cards, notepads and pens.
Helen has helped organise a fashion show in Melton on Monday night which will raise money for refugees who are being housed around the region - the event is still very much on despite the Scalford hotel no longer being used.
It is being staged at Hamilton Lawn Tennis Club at 7.30pm (doors open at 7pm) with limited tickets costing £5.
Clothes will be modelled and sold from top brands, in sizes from six to 30, with up to 75 per cent off.
There will also be a bar, cake stall and a raffle, with proceeds going to support refugees.
Call Helen on 07780 976547 to buy a ticket.
Scalford Country House Hotel, which dates back to 1908, was taken over by new owners more than two years ago when it underwent a major refurbishment programme.
It had a chequered history in the years immediately before that when it was called Scalford Hall Hotel.
Its operating company went into administration in January 2018, with all 35 staff being made redundant.
But it reopened a week later under a new management firm, with the approval of the administrators, with employees being offered their jobs back.
However, stories began surfacing in the summer of that year of wedding receptions being cancelled, couples fearing they would lose deposits on the venue and staff walking out after not being paid.
The hotel, which is set in eight acres of gardens, was built as a hunting lodge by Major Mann Thompson.
He was friends with the then Edward VIII who is reported to have frequently stayed at Scalford Hall with Wallis Simpson.