Asylum Seekers in Hale Village – What’s Happening?

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Asylum Seekers in Hale Village, Cheshire - What's Happening

As most people are now aware, the Ashley Hotel is being converted to house over 100 single male asylum seekers in just a few weeks’ time. Some residents are very welcoming whereas many others are worried about just what 100 young men will get up to all day and others are worried about the safety of young females given that the attitude to women in the countries that the men might come from are less liberal than ours. Others are worried that given that Albanians are the largest group of foreign prisoners in UK jails that there might also be crime worries. Despite the rumours, nobody actually knows what nationality the asylum seekers will be but as those from Albania now seem to form the majority of those arriving in small boats, there’s a good chance that they will be from there.

Just a couple of days ago, both the MEN and the Mail ran articles on the issue and the overwhelming number of comments and votes believed what’s good for Rochdale should be good enough for Hale.

And who can blame them?

Why do we think it’s OK to house asylum seekers elsewhere but not in our own backyard especially when we in Hale elected a councillor in the May elections whose party believes that we should be open to admitting even more? And the Green’s Jane Leicester didn’t just scrape through either. She got an overwhelming 50% of the vote.

Of course, there are many residents of Hale who are completely opposed to the numbers arriving in small boats and judging by the tone of the room at last week’s residents’ meeting, they seem to be in the majority.

At that meeting there was a smaller group who thought that asylum seekers should be welcomed and these were led by Councillor Leicester. However, Jane doesn’t actually live in the area. The Green Party’s policy on asylum seekers can be found in the link below, but you can safely conclude that it’s a little more liberal that our current system and fits in with their general policy on migration in general where they state that richer regions and communities do not have the right to use migration controls to protect their privileges from others in the long term. You can interpret that as you wish but for me that seems like support for open borders with no immigration controls whatsoever.

https://policy.greenparty.org.uk/home/long-term-goals/ra.html

At the meeting, Jane was very reluctant to state her position on whether we should accommodate asylum seekers in Hale, saying that she didn’t think we could do anything about it. However, once pressed by the attendees, she said that she did support the situation and also added that we should have safe routes overseas for people to apply for asylum. I pressed Jane on this after the meeting and asked her if an asylum seeker had applied via a safe route and been rejected (as many of the young men currently arriving in small boats would undoubtedly be) why would they not then try the small boat route? Jane didn’t have an answer to this.

Many people believe that we should have safe routes anyway. Others think that these, particularly if situated in Northern France, would be an even greater magnet for boat arrivals. Other are worried that given what they perceive as a very liberal viewpoint on asylum claims by the Home Office, that this would massively increase numbers.

On that point, it’s interesting that both Sweden and Germany will not allow any asylum claims from Albanian nationals because they believe that they are already in a safe European country. The UK is very liberal on Albanian claims particularly as most are now made under Theresa May’s people trafficking laws. According to Home Office figures, about 11,000 Albanians arrived here in the 5 months from May to September 2022 and it’s maybe understandable that some are sceptical about the strength of their trafficking claims.

At the meeting, Graham Brady was very forthright about his views on asylum seekers and immigration in general however, as many pointed out, his party have been in power for 12 years and both legal immigration and asylum claims have gone through the roof in that time. Indeed, some people think that the Tories’ focus on preventing Channel crossings is at best half-hearted and at worse, a smokescreen to cover the fact that they’ve issued around a million legal visas for people to join us in the past 12 months.

In Hale, the only way to stop or at least slow down the use of the Ashley Hotel seems to be putting complaints into Trafford’s planning department regarding the fact that the hotel will be used as a hostel and that requires change of use planning consent which has neither been applied for nor granted. Those of you that wish to do this can do so online in about 3 minutes.

https://www.trafford.gov.uk/planning/development-control/planning-enforcement.aspx

The Hotel Address is:
The Britannia Ashley hotel
Ashley road
Hale
WA15 9SF

Tensions will undoubtably start to run high over this issue but just because you have a different view to one of your fellow residents doesn’t mean that you should be rude in the comments below and it would be good to see a balanced debate on the matter.

19 COMMENTS

    • Perhaps you can put your points rather than saying my points are biased. I realise that some people don’t like to read anything they disagree with but you have the perfect opportunity on these comments to state your case.

  1. Yep- came here to leave that same comment.

    Write a hugely unbalanced article and then ask for a balanced discussion- okay then. How stupid do you think we are?

  2. What difference does it make that Jane Leicester doesn’t live in Hale? According to your article, 1 in 2 of us voted for her. She has a mandate to represent Hale and work in the best interests of the village. Where she lives is insignificant.

    • I wonder how many Hale residents were celebrating the birth of Christianity recently ? Goodwill to ALL men. Maybe they even went ti church and sang carols about good will to ALL men (except those in boats from Albania) LOL

    • Hi David. I would say it’s very relevant that Jane doesn’t live in the area simply because if she doesn’t, she’s not actually affected by events. Just like many of us were critical of Sunak when he refused to declare if he used an NHS GP just this week for that very reason.

      • Of course she’s affected – she’s an elected representative for the people of Hale.

        Graham Brady doesn’t live in Hale either. Where’s your criticism of him?

  3. The issue is complex but the main issue to me seems to be the suitability of the accommodation and location and whether this has been considered at all by those making decisions – given the individuals cannot work while their applications are processed they need to be able to do things to keep them busy or even start them on the road to integrating into society if their applications are successful – larger towns/cities have a greater number of facilities that are available free – libraries/art galleries even just warm clean shopping centres – Hale’s temporary library will not accommodate 10 people let alone 100! That is why other places would be better it is not just nimbyism from local residents. There has been little information shared by the authorities but surely asylum seekers are told that any illegal activity would result in immediate rejection of their case – if not why not ?
    Perhaps our wonderful council will be laying on free travel passes and suggested itineraries each day – maybe compulsory education or language classes if appropriate? In doing so they might mitigate the possibility of large groups of bored men unavoidably hanging around and being seen as an intimidating presence – Many of the areas residents- businessmen, footballers and certainly the teams they play for could afford to fund at least some program of activity for the proposed visitors that might in turn allow them to demonstrate the truth or otherwise of their wish to become contributors to our society – having come this far there must be zero tolerance of infractions for anyone who desires true asylum.

  4. It’s absolutely ridiculous that such a small village is expected to accommodate over 100 men who are unable to work and are only been given £9 a week (which wouldn’t cover the cost of a return to Manchester on the metro). There’s not the infrastructure to support these people in Hale, what will they be doing during the day/night? There’s literally nothing for them to do apart from wonder the streets. There’s not been any joined up thinking here at all. It’s not fair on the residents of hale and also the immigrants that are being housed in the village. They need to be placed in larger town/city which can then provide them with the free support they will need, not a small village on the outskirts of Manchester! It’s utter madness!

    • Many voters think that asylum seekers shouldn’t get anything. For myself, giving someone £9 a week probably isn’t enough to stop some of them trying to supplement that.

  5. If they are Albanian they are not coming from a war torn country. Instead of spending thousands to cross the channel on small boats surely an Easyjet flight would have been cheaper, unless they have something to hide ?

  6. Maybe we should work to find out what skills they have brought with them. There may be skilled web developers, social media experts, chefs, who knows what?

    Will they be able to work to supplement their meagre support allowance.

    What business would be willing to hire them?

    • Our government don’t allow them to work whilst their applications are being processed. So even if a business would be willing to hire them, they can’t. So the government fails everyone (asylum seekers and the British public) by not processing the claims fast enough, and not giving the asylum seekers any support whilst they delay the application process. The Conservative Party have created a terrible mess for all concerned.

  7. Adding 100 people to the the southern edge of Manchester will be unnoticeable. Concern about “Men standing about” reminds me of that classic “Not the nine o’clock news” sketch.
    Just think of them as ex pats.

  8. Not so much a point about the article but why are Councillors who are supposed to be representing local issues not living in the ward they are elected to represent. This is Green Party’s Jane Leicester using Hale as a stepping stone for her own political journey. #local councillors for localpeople

  9. The way I see it is that any sensible discussion about immigration is immediately overshadowed by the fear of being branded a racist. In an ideal world (in my humble opinion) there would be total freedom of movement for every human being, but this is far from an ideal world. The Tories have managed to further inflame peoples perception of immigration by turning it into another battle in their culture war. Truth is, almost every country in the world has immigration laws and standards. Problems arise when a perceived injustice takes place. As a lifelong Hale resident and property owner, it is hard not to feel a sense of injustice when families are picknicking and playing football on the bowling green in the shadow of the hideous slum that the Ashley Hotel has been allowed to become under the ownership of the infamous Britannia Hotels group. Maybe the greater injustice is that there are no local green spaces that are not so polluted with dog faeces (Spring Bank, Stamford Park anyone?) that you’d be out of your mind to let your kids play there. Maybe the greater injustice is that there is almost zero local police presence to enforce laws already in place to conserve local treasures like the bowling green, or funds or staff to maintain them. Maybe the greater injustice is that the Tories have ripped the heart out of the UK for the last twelve years and the whole frustrating mess has become such a tinderbox of seething frustration that a few (generally well-behaved) immigants are capable of turning people into nationalist extremists. It’s all very sad.

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