Petition to halt asylum hostels
APETITION calling for large buildings not to be used for ‘ super’ asylum seeker hostels including one due to operate in Widnes has been sent to the Home Secretary.
More than 1,500 people signed the online document on change. org which cites the conversion of Lilycross Care Centre on Wilmere Lane.
The green light to change the former care home – which was closed down in 2015 after being branded ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission – into a hostel offering temporary accommodation for a maximum of 28 days for up to 120 asylum seekers was given in January by Halton Borough Council’s development control committee.
It previously offered care for up to 60 people and the new hostel will be run by Serco on behalf of the Home Office.
The petition asks why ‘many hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers money’ could be ‘wasted’ on converting Lilycross after claiming both the Home Affairs Select Committee and the Refugee Council have advised against forced room sharing.
It adds ‘large scale’ hostels are to be phased out within six ● months.
The petition also claims that Serco and the Home Office intend to use Lilycross for 10 years and a minimum of 20,000 asylum seekers could pass through the location over the decade.
It said: “We feel that we cannot condone such large asylum seeker hostels in the UK and that the Government should listen to the advice of the experts, so please sign and share this peti- tion if you think these super asylum seeker hostels should be scrapped.”
It has now been sent to Amber Rudd.
Karen Forde began a campaign on Facebook opposing the conversion when the plans to convert Lilycross were announced and also started this petition.
She said: “We’re desperate for care homes in this borough.
“There’s people desperate for places to go in the borough so we need every care home we can get.
“It’s only when you come to putting loved ones in a care home that you realise the real issues facing this borough.”
She added: “We tried to get them to listen to save the care home so it can still be used as a care home going forward, but they didn’t listen.
“Just because it was empty at the time didn’t make it any less of a care home.”
Lilycross Care Centre on Wilmere Lane, Widnes