FOI Request - Asylum Seekers Information - Eight Acres

Request 101003307147

1. I would like to see information of the change of use of The Eight Acres 'Hotel' from a licenced Hotel to an Asylum residential unit please.

2. Also linked to the above: I would  also like any information pertaining to any Public Consultation,  meeting or other regarding the change to an Asylum residential Unit/ Center

3. Also linked to the above: I would like to see any Impact statements, investigations or instructions regarding the use of the Eight Acres Hotel as an Asylum residential unit / center.

4. Impact on Schools, Medical & Dental centers, future housing capabilities (rumour has it that the council are already preparing the ex RAF married quarters at Pinefield for this end?) Impact ongoing on crime rates and what safety measures have been implemented for residents of Elgin and surrounding areas? Especially those living in the areas around Morriston Rd.

5. I would also like to know if the Eight Acres will be housing families or, as is normally the case just men & boys? Will these be Ukrainian refugees?

Response 30-05-2023

1. Not held. No planning application was required or received. Information that is not held falls under Section 17 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 - Information not held.

2. The local authority was informed that the Home Office had Ministerial approval to procure a hotel in Moray. Local authorities are not consulted but advised by the Home Office. Asylum Contingency Hotels are a Home Office initiative led by Mears Property and Care Providers; the local authority have no direct responsibility for the contingency hotels or their asylum guests. It is Home Office policy not to announce a contingency hotel or engage with the local community; however, the Moray Council got Home Office approval to pilot a pro-active community engagement strategy to inform our local community of the contingency hotel, as a result the following has been done to date: 

  • The Moray Council in partnership with the Home Office released an article in the P&J on the 5th April.
  • The Elected Members were briefed so they could answer questions of their constituents.
  • A presentation has been delivered to Elgin Community Council.
  • A presentation has been delivered to schools, health, social work and professional partners.
  • 4 stakeholder events are being organised for local residents (information will be shared once the venue has been confirmed).

3. This request would need to be directed to the Home Office.

4. There will be no children, therefore no impact on schools. Medical triage will take place at the hotel by an assigned Health Care Professional and if onward GP referral is required they will be referred to 1 of the 3 practices who have agreed to support the individuals. Based on information shared by other local authority areas the demographic of young single males have minimal impact on GP services.
There will be no dental service offered.
The asylum seekers are not being offered housing and are not being housed in the Pinefield Houses. They are being homed in the Elgin contingency hotel while their asylum claims are being processed.
Any concerns relating to crime rates should be directed to Police Scotland.

5. The Elgin contingency hotel will only home single adult males during their asylum claim. There will be no more than 51 in total due to hotel capacity.
There will be no Ukrainian refugees at the hotel.

Asylum Contingency Hotels are a Home Office initiative led by Mears Property and Care Providers.  The local authority have no direct responsibility for the contingency hotels or their asylum guests, but do work in close partnership with Mears to both support the individuals and help to minimise the impact the contingency hotel may have on community services.

If further detail are required in relation asylum contingency hotels please contact the Home Office

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