Talks taking place to house asylum seekers at south Essex hotel

·2-min read
Plans - The hotel and inset stock image of asylum seekers
Plans - The hotel and inset stock image of asylum seekers

TALKS are taking place between hotel bosses and the government over proposals for a south Essex hotel to be used to house asylum seekers.

Rochford Council has confirmed "formal conversations" are being held about the future of the Chichester Hotel, in Old London Road, on the border of Wickford and Rayleigh.

Staff were informed about the proposals last week, according to workers.

When contacted by the Echo, owners insisted the hotel was not closing.

A Rochford Council spokesman said: ""We are aware that the Government is in formal conversations with the management at this property on this issue.

"This is a matter and a decision made by the Home Office."

One member of staff told the Echo he believes the plan could see all 35 rooms used to house asylum seekers.

He said: “There have been talking on going with the directors for the hotel to be used to house asylum seekers.

“Staff were told about it on Friday and I wasn’t there but other workers relayed it to me.

“We haven’t been told too much about it. We have 35 rooms and I think they are looking to fill the hotel with the asylum seekers.

“This could mean we have to cancel our bookings for rooms for weddings and events.

“I think there are due to be more discussions and we should be told more about it this week about it.”

According to the worker, the changes to the hotel could be made in within weeks, however no final decision has been made on the proposals.

A nearby resident, aged 43, who asked to remain anonymous, has raised concerns about the proposals, adding: “Staff fear for the planned events booked onsite for families and weddings.

“It’s not going to fit in with the area and nobody wants this here.”

The Chichester Hotel was also used to house the homeless in the Covid lockdowns and pandemic.

The owners of the hotel, brothers Zifhan and Imran Zeman, insisted there are "no plans to close anything". when contacted for further comment.