Residents’ anger over rise of asylum seekers

Exterior of Britannia Hotel, Almond Brook Road, Standish
Exterior of Britannia Hotel, Almond Brook Road, Standish

RESIDENTS have spoken of their concern over the volume of asylum seekers being put up at a Wigan hotel.

Refugees are currently being housed at the Britannia Hotel, in Almond Brook Road, Standish, and have not been universally welcomed.

On TripAdvisor reviews, the place is referred to as a refugee camp

Angry Standish resident

Second World War veteran Fred Lowton, 89, said: “I see a lot of asylum seekers walking around. We didn’t get looked after like this when we fought in the wars, but that is how it goes.”

Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “There must be over a dozen asylum seekers living there.

“On TripAdvisor reviews, the place is referred to as a refugee camp.

“I have seen them lying on the grass embankment while others were sitting on a bench. It is very intimidating having gangs of these people loitering around the car park.”

One local said: “It is a problem because as they are in their rooms most of the time they can see into my back garden. They hang their washing out and leave groceries by their windows - it is unsightly.”

Another home owner added: “I understand they need somewhere to go, and have had difficult lives, but it is the countries that need sorting out. Most refugees are women, children and old men, but I am seeing a lot of young men, on their mobile phones. They should stay and help sort their country out, not run away.”

Another pensioner said: “There is not much we can do about it, but I don’t believe they should be coming here where we as taxpayers foot the bill.”

But some locals were rather more sympathetic. One said: “I don’t think it is a problem and it is nice that they are being supported. There are all sorts of terrible tales of why people need to leave. I only have sympathy for the genuine refugees, but there are a lot of negative stories about people taking advantage.”

A spokesman for Support for Wigan Arrivals Project – SWAP – which offers support to refugees and asylum seekers said a rise in immigrants was a reaction to current world events, but Wigan taxpayers were not footing the bill.

She said: “This is not the first time the hotel has been used. This is an emergency measure and reflects the current world situation. This is what happens when there are a lot of wars and instability going on in Northern Africa. This is a holding place until they can be dispersed into more permanent accommodation elsewhere. The money is not coming from Wigan taxpayers - it is from the government.”