Norwich: Holiday Inn Express in Hellesdon used as asylum


4:51 PM September 5, 2022

A city hotel will become a temporary home for more than 170 asylum seekers.

Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North, said an email from the director of asylum support at the Home Office confirmed that the department intended to use the Holiday Inn Express in Hellesdon to provide temporary accommodation.

But Ms Smith wrote to Home Secretary Priti Patel to say she was concerned about the existing capacity for essential public services in light of the move.

Chloe Smith has written to Priti Patel about plans for a hotel to be used as an asylum
– Credit: House of Commons

Ms Smith said Norwich is a “friendly and welcoming city”, but asked for reassurance that the sudden accommodation of up to 176 people will be balanced with public resources.

It is understood the Drayton High Road-based hotel could start welcoming refugees from this week.

The hotel would also be staffed at all times with two accommodation officers and two security guards, according to Ms Smith.

The <a class=Holiday Inn Express in Hellesdon ” class=”” loading=”lazy” title=””/>

The Holiday Inn Express in Hellesdon
– Credit: Google Maps

Ms Smith said: “Norwich is a warm and friendly city which has welcomed refugees and those in need throughout its history.

“However, firstly, the hotel site in my constituency is in an area where there are already real concerns about sufficient capacity for essential public services such as medical and dental practices, schools and other infrastructure.

“I have always spoken on behalf of constituents on these points and am working closely with local health officials and others to get the infrastructure that residents of today and tomorrow need.”

Norwich Norfolk Conservative MP Chloe Smith Photo: UK Parliament

Conservative MP for Norwich North Chloe Smith
– Credit: British Parliament

Concerns have also been raised about the impact on the hotel as an important venue for welcoming visitors to the city.

Ms Smith said: “While I hope this is sensible and supportive of asylum seekers should they need it, it does change the nature of a hotel – which is an important point in a city like Norwich which is making a important trade in tourism and hospitality.

“What assessment has been undertaken of the market to ensure that our economy and the many jobs in tourism and hospitality are not affected by this decision?”

The MP concluded her letter by referring to many constituents raising concerns for the safety of large numbers of migrants traveling across the English Channel in small boats, adding: ‘What more is your department doing to stop this tragic human trafficking?”

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