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Wigan Township Erupts in Fury Over Asylum Seeker Hotel Placement

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In the quaint village of Standish, Wigan, an unexpected storm of controversy erupted in August 2023, as Kilhey Court Hotel was revealed as the new residence for asylum seekers. The Home Office’s decision, made without consulting the local council or residents, ignited protests and debates, turning the once-quiet Standish into a battleground for opposing views, as reported by Wigan Today.

Kilhey Court, touted as a “posh hotel,” faced objections from various quarters, including Wigan Council, local MP Lisa Nandy, and campaigners Gareth Fairhurst and Coun Maureen O’Bern. The unanimous sentiment was that the location was unsuitable, lacking nearby amenities and recreational options for the migrants. The community, with a population of around 13,000, voiced practical concerns about the hotel’s conversion, distinct from political disagreements.

Standish, experiencing a recent population boom due to housebuilding, grappled with strained infrastructure, including congested roads, limited healthcare access, and oversubscribed schools. Locals feared that adding vulnerable asylum seekers to this mix would further burden their already stressed resources.

The controversy deepened as residents, expecting weddings and events at Kilhey Court, were blindsided by its sudden closure for asylum seeker accommodation. Campaigners from various parts of the country, representing both right and left-leaning perspectives, converged on Standish, heightening tensions in the community.

Vincent Magee, a resident, expressed concerns about the government’s unilateral decision, stating, “There was no room for another asylum seeker hotel. The area is overwhelmed; we need more schools, doctors, and dentists.”

The unexpected announcement to house asylum seekers in Kilhey Court mirrored the subsequent decision to close the hotel just two months later. Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan, welcomed the closure, citing the government’s recognition that Kilhey Court was unsuitable. However, the decision to open and close the hotel swiftly, without community input, intensified local dissatisfaction.

Multiple letters of objection from the council, Wigan MPs, and a petition signed by over 3,500 people prompted the government’s U-turn. Despite the closure announcement in October 2023, the hotel is set to shut its doors in March 2024. The lack of communication between the Home Office and local authorities further fueled discontent, with Coun Dane Anderton expressing gratitude for those who persistently voiced concerns.

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Residents, while acknowledging the need to shelter asylum seekers, deemed Kilhey Court an ill-suited location, emphasizing its rural nature and lack of facilities. The sudden upheaval in Standish serves as a cautionary tale about the importance of community involvement and communication in decisions with far-reaching implications.

The controversy surrounding Kilhey Court Hotel underscores the delicate balance between addressing humanitarian needs and considering the practical concerns of local communities

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Birminghamgist Staff is a News Reporter, making waves in the UK with insightful and Engaging reporting.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Susan Nicholson

    November 26, 2023 at 1:18 am

    We have no obligation to give them accommodation they are here illegally and come through many safe countries to get here for our benefits !

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