Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn has today insisted that the Home Office need to be held accountable for their lack of strategic planning around housing asylum seekers, following the news this morning that plans to turn the Stradey Park Hotel into an accommodation facility have been scrapped.
The Home Office’s accommodation provider Clearsprings Ready Homes have been working on the site of the Stradey Park Hotel in Llanelli since April 2023, and had been expected to have asylum seeking families moving on to the site during July.
However, today (October 10), the Home Office have written to Dyfed-Powys Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, as well as Carmarthenshire County Council to notify them that due to ‘a number of practical and logistical challenges’ – they are no longer proceeding with plans to use the Hotel as a site for asylum accommodation.
Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “While I welcome the decision to halt the plans to use the hotel as a site for housing asylum seekers, it is imperative that the Home Office now be held accountable for their decision-making processes and their lack of strategic planning.
“Who made the decision in the first instance, where was the business case and the surrounding due diligence in ensuing that the decision was feasible and realistic?
“Tensions around the site have been growing in recent weeks, requiring frontline officers and staff to continually work in challenging circumstances which on occasions has compromised our positive relationship with communities.
“The position has been untenable at times, and the costs associated with policing this site are significant and have been rising continually over recent weeks.
“Add to that, costs incurred by other service providers such as the Fire Service and the Local Authority, and as importantly, how much have the Home Office themselves spent on the site over recent months? Questions need to be asked, and our taxpayers need answers.
“The Home Office must provide a clear explanation for their lack of foresight and the significant pressure they have placed on local service providers in Carmarthenshire and beyond.
“This is the second time in only a matter of couple of years where local communities and service providers in Dyfed-Powys have been put under unnecessary pressures due to the Home Office’s lack of strategic planning and local engagement,” he continued.
“It is obvious to me that no lessons have been learnt from past experiences, and once again we have been left to pick up the pieces on a local level.
“I would reiterate from the letters I have written to the Home Office, my support for the Welsh Government’s strategy, which is to house people in a dispersed model.
“This is sustainable in offering a longer-term solution for asylum seekers within the Dyfed-Powys area. It is a model that the people of Wales support, have embraced and have successfully delivered to re-settle Syrian, Afghan, Ukrainian and general asylum seekers in recent years.
“The decisions made by the Home Office are in direct conflict with this,” added Mr Llywelyn.