LUKE MARSDEN: stop using Wigan as an asylum-seeker dumping ground
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But when I saw what is about to happen to Kilhey Court, my blood boiled.
Why has Wigan become a dumping ground for asylum seekers? What have hard-working Wigan taxpayers done to deserve this?
When I read Wigan Today’s exclusive revealing that owner Macdonald Hotels has decided to take SERCO money from the Home Office and started axing staff before the hotel is converted into exclusive asylum seekers' accommodation, I was disgusted.
Like many Wiganers, I have fond memories of Kilhey Court. As a kid I learnt to swim there and enjoyed many a happy time but those memories will soon be dust. And if I’d been waiting years for a wedding there and have now been forced to cancel, I’d be apoplectic.
Wigan is doing its fair whack to house as many asylum seekers as possible, with another once grand hotel, The Britannia, already a SERCO-managed facility.
Like many, I share the legitimate concerns of many Wiganers, groups and councillors about what feels like a punishment for Wigan with yet another influx of asylum seekers.
When we have homeless roaming our town centre and multiple instances of anti-social behaviour, we need to prioritise these problems not potentially add more fuel to the fire.
I’ve signed various petitions that are circulating, and I fully support peaceful initiatives to protest this latest move but, let’s be honest: Wigan Council and Lisa Nandy MP may as well start handing out welcome brochures in Standish.
Kilhey Court’s owners have traded the prestige and reputation of the hotel for cash. In this current climate, some wouldn’t blame them, but this is another example on an ever-growing list of great Wigan institutions that will now become totally unrecognisable.
How long before the Kittywake becomes a floating hostel?