Hotel not allowed to house asylum seekers, say planners

Credit: BPM.

A hotel in Birmingham has been warned it will need extra planning permission if it wants to become an asylum seeker hostel once again.

The warning comes as the historic Paragon Hotel, in Digbeth, has been given the go ahead to construct a four-storey extension which will add an additional 99 rooms.

New owners of the hotel, the family of Iraqi billionaire Narim El-Akabi, have confirmed they are investing millions in the Paragon and will relaunch it as a luxury hotel.

But just over a year ago it was home to more than 230 asylum seekers, placed there by private contractor G4S.

Councillor Tahir Ali (Lab Nechells) said:

He added that they welcomed its restoration as a quality hotel and hoped new jobs would be given to locals.

Councillor Gareth Moore (Conservative MP for Erdington) said It was clear there was very slow progress cracking down here after the building was being used without planning consent.

Council chief planning officer Richard Goulborn said the planning enforcement team had worked with the immigration service and Home Office to deal with the hotel's use as an asylum seeker's hostel and admitted that it had taken too long.

He said there were now links in place and "we would be able to act more quickly if ever there was a repeat".He said any use as an asylum hostel would require a fresh planning application, adding:

The Paragon Hotel has been criticised by reviewers on Trip Advisor in the past.

But the new plans will see it redeveloped as a quality conference and wedding venue and tourist hotel, hoping to capitalise on the major investment in Highgate and Digbeth because of HS2, the Metro extension and Connaught Square development.