AN urgent solution to the long-term future of refugees staying in a Southend Hotel must be found, a councillor has warned amid calls for Government intervention.

The Park Inn by Radisson Palace, on Church Road, took in 90 Afghan refugees – who had fled a resurgent Taliban – at the start of September 2021.

To this day, the Home Office – which claims it aims to “end the use of hotels as contingency accommodation” – is using the premises as a bridging hotel for Afghan evacuees.


However, the Government department has refused to confirm the length of its current contract with the hotel, or whether it will be extended.

“As a matter of urgency, we need to find a solution for permanent resettlement for these people living in this hotel,” councillor Tony Cox said.

“While it’s not ideal they are still in the hotel, I think Southend and the country can be very proud for taking in Afghans refugees, many who put their lives on the line helping British forces and are fleeing terrible atrocities.”

In neighbouring Wickford, the Home Office has announced it will not renew its contract to house asylum-seekers at the Chichester Hotel when it expires at the end of October following campaigning by MP Mark Francois.

“It’s central Government’s responsibility to find accommodation to move people into long-term homes,” councillor Ian Gilbert, responsible for housing, said.

“We have been doing our best with our extremely limited stock to help, but Southend alone cannot solve this problem, and we will need Government leadership and other areas to play their part if we are to get everyone in the hotel housed and the building back into its regular use."

A council spokesman said it continues to “work closely with the Home Office to get asylum families into settled accommodation nationwide.”

A Home Office spokesperson added: “We are dealing with an unprecedented increase in asylum cases but despite this we continue to ensure that the accommodation provided is safe, secure and leaves no one destitute.

“The Home Office does not comment on operational arrangements for individual hotels.”