Small business closes as Milton Keynes hotel makes way for asylum seekers

    Harben House Hotel

    It has been revealed that the Home Office is set to move 200 single asylum seekers into a hotel in Newport Pagnell.

    Hair at Harben, a local business which was located inside Harben House Hotel on Tickford Street, took to social media to announce it has closed after it was given a notice period of one week.

    "A very sad day, salon all empty and Hair at Harben closed for business. Thanks Tulip Hotels for your notice period of 1 week.

    "Onwards and upwards 1 door closes and another 1 opens.

    "I’ll be in contact with you all personally over the next week or so to let you know my new venture."

    Residents have been rallying to support the local business owner since the post, with one saying: 'Sorry to hear about how badly you have been treated Jane, but I have no doubt you'll make a success of your next place.'

    And another adding: 'Can’t believe they’ve done this to you! But as some are saying: maybe these things happen for a reason, look forward to catching up with you soon.'

    Since the post, it has been revealed that it is thought the hotel is set to become a holding centre for asylum seekers, where men stay to be checked and screened.

    The City Council has stated that it was given 'no notice' of the news, with Peter Marland, Leader of Milton Keynes City Council, stating: “Milton Keynes City Council has been given no notice of who the people are, what their needs may be or any other details. I'm very worried that this awful management is damaging for local community cohesion, and it is not in best interests of the people that have moved here. We will, of course, do our best but it's a very dangerous of the government give so little information which can allow rumours and misinformation to spread.

    “While the Conservative government fails to "Stop the Boats" and the backlog of asylum cases increases, people are simply being dumped in our city without proper support and it's the local council and local taxpayers that pick up the results. It is disgraceful.”

    MKFM has spoken to Ben Everitt, MP for Milton Keynes North who says: "I have been made aware Milton Keynes City Council has been working with the Home Office over the last few months to provide short-term asylum seeker accommodation in Newport Pagnell.

    "I'm very surprised to learn about the scale of the accommodation and the fact that it will be used to house single, male asylum seekers.

    "I was equally surprised that the Labour leader of the council claims to have had no idea about this when I have seen correspondence between the council and the Home Office suggesting consultation as far back as June.

    "In Parliament Labour have voted against every attempt from the Conservative Government to prevent illegal immigration, and in Milton Keynes it appears they are once again playing politics rather than focusing on the concerns of local people.

    "I understand our communities will be distressed by this news and I have urgently contacted the Home Office to seek assurances and further details."

    The Home Office stated that hotels are not a suitable 'long term solution'.

    Newport Pagnell Lib Dem ward councilor Jane Carr said: “We will welcome the asylum seekers but at the same time we will try to ease the concerns of residents and ensure there is support in place and all concerns are addressed by the Home Office.”

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