Asylum seekers are once again staying at Needham House Hotel in Little Wymondley, North Herts Council has confirmed, blasting the Home Office's lack of communication as "completely unacceptable".

The hotel abruptly closed to the public in April, informing customers with bookings - including couples who had booked the venue for their wedding - that their reservations had been cancelled due to "government business".

The hotel had been contracted to provide housing to a reported 230 asylum seekers.

Fourteen asylum seekers arrived at the hotel at the end of May, but were moved out by the Home Office less than a week later, Wymondley Parish Council told the Comet.


It transpires the hotel is at the centre of a legal battle with investors over a failed buy-to-let hotel room investment scheme, sold by a company called Oak Property Partners, which went into liquidation in 2017.

North Herts Council has confirmed asylum seekers were moved into Needham House Hotel earlier this month.

At a council meeting on Thursday (July 13), Councillor Sean Prendergast, North Herts Council's executive member for housing, said:  "Last week, the council was made aware that the hotel would be opening for asylum seeker families one day before people moved in. There was no formal notification provided by the Home Office."

He continued: "All in all, communication with the Home Office on this subject has been very challenging, to say the least - often with no response to important questions.

"Frankly, their unwillingness to enter into meaningful dialogue with local authorities is completely unacceptable."


Cllr Prendergast blasted the lack of "meaningful communication from the Home Office, despite concerted efforts from the council to engage in dialogue with them".

He said: "It's clear the use of hotels in this way cannot be appropriate for vulnerable asylum seekers, even before taking into account the individual factors associated with each site, including an isolated location such as this.

"In addition, the impact on already stretched public services has featured heavily in feedback to the Home Office.

"The council has and continues to make it clear to the Home Office that this location is unsuitable. The village where the hotel is located has no facilities nearby, and transport links are limited."

A Home Office spokesperson said: "The number of people arriving in the UK who require accommodation has reached record levels and has put our asylum system under incredible strain.  

"We have been clear that the use of hotels to house asylum seekers is unacceptable – there are currently more than 51,000 asylum seekers in hotels costing the UK taxpayer £6 million a day.

"The Home Office is committed to making every effort to reduce hotel use and limit the burden on the taxpayer."

The Home Office also said it engages with local authorities as early as possible whenever sites are used for asylum accommodation, and works to ensure arrangements are safe for hotel residents and local people.  

Needham House Hotel has been contacted for comment.