Carmarthenshire County Council has today received written confirmation from the Home Office that plans to house asylum seekers in a community Carmarthenshire hotel have been formally withdrawn, in a move that has been welcomed by the council and the local community alike.
The council said in a statement:
“The County Council is pleased that the Home Office has come to this decision. Council Leader Darren Price and Chief Executive Wendy Walters had both written to Home Office Ministers and senior civil servants last week outlining their concerns with regards to escalating community tensions and urging the UK Government to withdraw from the site.
“The Local Authority will continue to work with Dyfed Powys Police and the hotel owners to ensure that the site of the Stradey Park Hotel is managed appropriately, for the good of the community of Furnace and Llanelli.”
The Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, Cllr. Darren Price added: “I very much welcome the decision of the Home Office to withdraw its plans for the Stradey Park Hotel; it’s the right decision for the hotel and more importantly, it’s the right decision for the people of Furnace.
“Now is the time for the community of Llanelli to come together, to heal from the experience of the past few months.
“On the issue of providing sanctuary to people in desperate need, I will reiterate Carmarthenshire County Council’s desire to continue to welcome our share of asylum seekers from countries such as Ukraine, Afghanistan and Syria to our county via the dispersal model which has worked successfully in Carmarthenshire for many years.”
The SOSPAN Group (Save Our Stradey Park and Neighbourhood) were in jubilant form on hearing the news, and supporter Katie Hopkins described it as a ‘Win for Ordinary Brits!’.
Lisa Baker, who spent a morning with the group to hear their stories,said:
“Having visited the group and followed their progress, I’d like to congratulate them today. The group has been steadfast, out in all weathers and so friendly when we visited them to hear their story – and have faced untold challenges as they have maintained their vigil. They truly have fought for their community hotel and it is my belief this victory will make the community even more close-knit than they were before.
“It’s also the best news for the asylum seekers, who deserve to have their cases heard fairly and helped to resettle and integrate properly as individuals, rather than being all lumped together and effectively ‘dumped’ in and on a rural Welsh community. It was always going to create fear and hostility on all sides.
“People of Furnace, this is YOUR hour. YOUR story. And here’s the evidence that community spirit is alive and kicking in West Wales.
“It’s your victory. You did it. Well done!”