Community protest in Standish after announcement that hotel will house asylum seekers

  • Video report by Granada Reports correspondent Tim Scott.

Hundreds of people attended a protest over plans to house asylum seekers at a hotel near Wigan.

Macdonald's Kilhey Court in Standish is set to become a hostel for asylum seekers from 9th September.

Macdonald's Kilhey Court is due to house asylum seekers from September 9th. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

Anti-racism protesters as well as people from the community attended the event, alongside a heavy police presence.

The protest was organised by Independent councillor, Maureen O'Bern.

Councillor O'Bern said: "The village and Wigan can't sustain it. There's a massive strain already on doctors, dentists and hospitals."

Anti-racism groups have condemned the attitudes of certain sections of the protest.

Some anti-racism protestors say they don't want the issue to be hijacked by far right groups. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

David Hassett from Wigan Stand Up To Racism said: "We absolutely understand that not everybody that opposes these proposals is a racist and people do have genuine concerns.

"But we also know that there are organised fascist groups that have jumped on this and we've seen across the country that hotels have been used and are now being deliberately targeted by the far right to stir up hatred."

Some locals in the area have questioned the decision to use the hotel.

John Ellis, a resident, said: "It is completely unsuitable to house asylum seekers.

"There's no street lights around that area, there's very little footpaths and there's no buses."

Wigan Council have also objected to the plans, due to the area having 'poor local amenities'.

Much of the blame for the unrest at the protest has been placed on the Home Office.

The Britannia hotel in Standish is also housing asylum seekers. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

Hassett said: "The Home Office is spending far more housing asylum seekers in hotels rather than actually processing applications and allowing 'leave to remain'.

"This is a problem that is completely in the government's hands to resolve."

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: "The significant increase in Channel crossings has put our asylum system under incredible strain and made it necessary to continue to use hotels to accommodate asylum seekers."

A spokesperson for Macdonald Hotels and Resorts, said: "Hospitality businesses continue to face well-publicised challenges caused by the pandemic and cost of living crisis, and as a result, we have taken the decision to temporarily close our Kilhey Court Hotel and Spa to the public on September 9th.

"The building will then be fully handed over to Serco, which provides much-needed housing and support for asylum seekers in communities across the UK.

"This has been a carefully planned decision and we will continue to liase with our team and guests over the coming weeks."