ANOTHER council is taking legal action to prevent the UK Government from using a hotel to house asylum seekers, with its leader branding the Home Office “irresponsible”.

Fenland District Council said the Rose and Crown Hotel in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, suddenly closed to the public on Friday afternoon.

Later that evening, the contractor responsible for running the Home Office’s asylum-seeker operation, informed the council of its plans for the building.

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On Monday, Fenland Council filed an application for an interim injunction at the High Court to stop the hotel in Market Place from being used to house asylum seekers.

The council said the change of use from a hotel to a hostel is a breach of planning law and the harm arising from such a breach is “significant”.

The authority said it was “disappointing” that Serco had failed to notify it of its plans earlier to allow discussions over locations to take place.

District councillor for Medworth Steve Tierney said: “As councillor for the area where the Rose and Crown Hotel is located, I am deeply concerned about the plan to house asylum seekers there.

“There are other places which are much better placed to give these vulnerable people the support they need.”

Samantha Hoy, the council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “We fully understand the concerns about local hotels being used to house asylum seekers and would urge the Home Office to consider more suitable locations where any new arrivals would not be subject to the level of potential harm.”

Fenland District Council is the latest in a string of local authorities to take legal steps to stop the Government from using hotels to house asylum seekers, following Great Yarmouth Borough Council, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Stoke City Council and Ipswich Borough Council.

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A Home Office spokesperson said in a previous statement: “The number of people arriving in the UK who seek asylum and require accommodation has reached record levels, placing unprecedented pressures on the asylum system.

“The Home Office and partners identify sites for accommodation based on whether they are safe and available.

“While we accept that hotels do not provide a long-term solution, they do offer safe, secure and clean accommodation, and we are working hard with local authorities to find appropriate accommodation during this challenging time.”