Accommodation of Asylum Seekers in KetteringYour council
24 November 2022
North Northamptonshire Council is aware that SERCO, the contractor working for the Home Office, started placing asylum seekers in the Royal Hotel in Kettering on the evening of Sunday 20 November 2022.
The council has raised serious concerns about the use of the Royal Hotel for this purpose directly with the Home Office. The council has also received concerns from other local statutory authorities and has also made the Home Office aware.
As indicated in previous statements, the council does not feel that it has been properly engaged with and feels that an initial dialogue is essential to ensure the welfare of the asylum seekers. Factors such as the availability of appropriate facilities at the site, public health and fire safety are all important considerations.
The council has considered and taken legal action to prevent it being used for this purpose. However, following consideration of the approach taken by the courts on similar actions by local authorities, has decided not to pursue further legal action at this time. The council will continue to consider what other measures it can use to encourage the Home Office and its contractor to enter into a dialogue with it about the safe use of the site.
North Northamptonshire Council is keen to point out that it is supportive of those seeking asylum. However, the priority to accommodate asylum seekers should not be higher than the need to provide a safe place for them to stay whilst their application for asylum is being considered.
We take the welfare and safety of everyone very seriously. We have an obligation to flag our concerns when we have information to suggest that something is not right. That is what I have done and at the highest level, in writing to the Government. At the end of the day, the decision to house asylum seekers at a particular location is out of the control of local councils. However, we will endeavour to raise the concerns that we and our statutory partners have to help ensure the welfare of those seeking asylum, staying in accommodation in North Northamptonshire.Councillor Jason Smithers, Leader of North Northamptonshire Council