Two-hundred asylum seekers have been placed in a luxury four-star hotel in a Welsh village at a cost of £6.8million to taxpayers. Those looking to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn have had bookings cancelled as the government place the migrants in the hotel nestled in the pituresque foothills of Snowdonia. Residents in Dolgarrog have complained of the placement, with the local council calling it “wholly inappropriate”.
The hotel’s 106 rooms are normally advertised for around £160 a night but are now fully booked until spring in a move that will cost taxpayers £6.8million.
The small village, with only 400 residents, has a post office, two shops, a restaurant and a cafe – with the only pub being inside the hotel.
Migrants arrived at the luxurious location in three coaches on Sunday evening, with them thought to have been transferred from overcrowded detention centres on the Kent coast more than 300 miles away.
Two community support officers were outside the local primary school on Tuesday as children headed home for the day.
According to The Sun, some migrants have been seen holding £10 notes and asking “Where’s the money exchange?”
Some agency staff at the hotel have now been told their employment has been terminated – according to reports. Wedding parties and a hen do have had to be cancelled as a result of the move.
Simon Pritchard, 31, and his soon-to-be wife Lucy Campbell, 28, were given a refund and told in a virtual meeting that they had days to find an alternative venue.
Lucy told The Sun: “If we can’t find one, we will have to cancel. We were gobsmacked.”
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In the Senedd (Welsh Parliament) yesterday, Lesley Griffiths, minister for rural affairs, North Wales and Trefnydd, said the Welsh Government had “no prior knowledge” of the decision.
She said the administration has written to the Home Office “as a matter of urgency” to outline its concerns “very, very strongly”.
But she also called for calm in a debate that threatens to erupt if inappropriate language is used, North Wales Live reports.
“I would want to appeal to everybody… that it is really best to avoid the use of inflammatory language when we’re dealing with this issue,” the politician told a plenary meeting.