A Leicestershire hotel is being taken over by the Home Office to house asylum seekers. The Best Western Yew Lodge Hotel in Kegworth, in north west Leicestershire, has confirmed it is closing to the public and has informed guests their reservations and health club memberships have been cancelled.
The hotel is set to close temporarily, but no end-date has been confirmed by either the hotel or the Home Office – but the ‘exclusive use contract’ will begin this weekend. The closure was first reported by local residents who use the hotel for the Reeds Health Club and Spa, with members of the club being told at short notice their memberships had been cancelled while the Home Office uses the hotel.
The other businesses based in the hotel, including Marco Pierre White’s New York Italian restaurant and the Houdini Escape Rooms, will also be closed while the Home Office has the exclusive use of the building. A spokesperson for the hotel said: “I can confirm the Home Office have an exclusive use contract at the hotel and starts this Sunday.”
The Home Office has confirmed they will be working with the hotel to house asylum seekers due to the “incredible strain” that the asylum system is under. A Home Office spokesperson said: “The number of people arriving in the UK who require accommodation has reached record levels and has put our asylum system under incredible strain.
“We engage with local authorities as early as possible whenever sites are used for asylum accommodation and work to ensure arrangements are safe for hotel residents and local people.” However, the decision has been received poorly by local residents, who are upset over the impact of the sudden closure of a key hotel on the local economy and jobs.
The Yew Lodge is one of a handful of hotels which services East Midlands Airport and brings tourists to the area. One concerned resident, who wants to remain anonymous, said: “Local people have lost their jobs, weddings, functions all cancelled and no access to the gym or pool, restaurant or bar which affects local people’s access to facilities.