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Asylum seekers moved to Grand Burstin Hotel in Folkestone after 'overcrowding in London'

Dozens of asylum seekers have moved in to a landmark Folkestone hotel amid claims of overcrowding at a London site.

The Home Office transferred 130 asylum seekers into the Grand Burstin Hotel in the town last night, with 30 of them expected to be moved on later today.

The transfer came after the Home Office contacted authorities in the Folkestone area yesterday afternoon.

Grand Burstin Hotel in Folkestone
Grand Burstin Hotel in Folkestone

The Home Office this afternoon said the remaining 100 would be relocated in a maximum of two weeks and that they are not people who have entered the country illegally.

A Home Office spokesman said: "The UK has a proud history of offering sanctuary to those who need it.

"We have made clear to our providers that the use of hotels is only ever acceptable as a short-term measure and they must make alternative forms of accommodation available as a matter of urgency.

"The Grand Burstin Hotel will be used for a maximum of two weeks and we have instructed providers to reduce the number staying there as soon as possible. We are working closely with Shepway District Council, who will be kept fully informed."

Jeremy Chambers, corporate director of resources at Shepway District Council, said the council is working with other public bodies and organisations as well as MP Damian Collins.

"We're talking about people who have made an application in the correct way. It's not unusual." Jeremy Chambers, corporate director of resources, Shepway District Council

Speaking to kmfm this morning, he said: "We received a call in the middle of yesterday afternoon. Since then 130 have moved to the Grand Burstin. We understand 30 will be moving today and 100 will be moving on over a period of the next two weeks.

"The arrangement with the Grand Burstin is for no more than that two week period.

"There was an issue with hotel accommodation in Croydon and their ability to accommodate approximately 600 in that hotel. It's a logistics issue for the Home Office.

"It was to do with that the Burstin has 550 bedrooms or thereabouts and had the available space for the 130 the Home Office were looking to move."

In recent weeks there have been several reports of people attempting to enter the country illegally by clinging to lorries, camper vans and wandering along the motorways.

The Home Office logo
The Home Office logo

However, Mr Chambers said this was not the case with the people moved to Folkestone yesterday.

He added: "We're talking about people who have made an application in the correct way and the Home Office are processing those applications.

"It's not unusual for asylum seekers who are properly within the system to be placed in the community whilst their application is processed by the Home Office. It has happened in Folkestone before.

"I'm speaking to reassure the community that we are a significant public body who have significant resources to deal with situations which may arise to ensure the needs of the community and the asylum seekers is met for the time they are here."

Mr Chambers added anyone with any particular concerns about the move can call the council on 01303 853000, by checking their website and through traditional and social media channels.

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