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Leader of North Devon Council, Councillor David Worden has issued a statement regarding reports on the current use of the Dilkhusa Grand Hotel in Ilfracombe.

Councillor Worden says: "Last month, North Devon Council received formal notification from the Home Office of the potential use of the Dilkhusa Grand Hotel, Ilfracombe as a contingency hotel to accommodate asylum seekers.

"We wrote to the Home Office and Clearsprings Ready Homes, the Home Office accommodation provider, raising significant concerns over the process and the suitability of Ilfracombe for this type of accommodation. North Devon MP, Selaine Saxby, raised similar concerns with Ministers and the Home Office directly and asked for an urgent and detailed consultation with North Devon Council.

"At a multi-agency forum on Friday 7 October, we and other agencies repeated concerns that Ilfracombe is an unsuitable location for use as asylum accommodation due to its remoteness and the likely impact of the loss of an operating hotel on the local economy. Following this, on Thursday 13 October, we were advised that a decision had been made not to progress the hotel as asylum contingency accommodation.

"It has come to our notice that the Dilkhusa has now been commissioned and there are currently 55 people in the hotel who have arrived in the UK seeking asylum. We were not consulted or formally notified about this change in direction from the Home Office, nor do we have a full understanding at this stage of their intentions for the hotel's future use.

"Both we, Devon County Council and Selaine Saxby MP are urgently seeking to gain a full understanding of the situation from the Home Office and Clearsprings, and we will review any appropriate actions we can take in light of the information we receive. 

"We recognise our responsibility to help people seeking safety in the UK and look forward to re-engaging with the Home Office and Clearsprings.”