Llanelli MS meets with Stradey Park Hotel management

Lee Waters MS has met with the management of the Stradey Park Hotel in the wake of protests outside the venue.

The MS said that staff were  ‘understandably very confused and very concerned’.

Large boulders have been placed across the entrance to the hotel and in recent days far right groups and those opposed to the proposals to accommodate the asylum seekers have gathered outside the hotel. representatives of Stand Up to Racism have also been present on the road opposite the protesters.

Management at the hotel have hired their own security after staff have been verbally abused by some protesters.

Following the meeting Lee Waters MS said: “They (the management) told me someone had placed large rocks and boulders outside the hotel to prevent vehicles from entering (this is going to cause problems for guests arriving by coach and of course the ability of emergency services to access the hotel).

“There are 90 staff, a majority of them living within walking distance of the hotel. A good chunk of the staff were taken on after Covid and don’t yet have the employment rights that kick in after two years.

“This is an appalling way for them to be treated by the owners, not least since they have kept the hotel trading during Covid and the difficult recovery.

“They are also concerned about the knock-on economic impact on their suppliers. For example they have 44 nights of bookings for golf tourists in the summer which won’t go ahead; the 60 weddings that have been cancelled will also hit local pubs and florists – and firms like Castell Howell.”

Mr Waters was highly critical of the Home Office and the UK Government. He said: “The communication from the Home Office has been appalling – only today have they met with Welsh Government officials and held a multi-disciplinary meeting of local services. Neither the owners or the Home Office private contractors Clearsprings are being communicative.

There are multiple victims in this mess, including the vulnerable people who are going to holed up in a hotel not designed for long-term occupation and face organised hostility from outside groups stirring up trouble.

I am speaking to the Council and others about putting support in place for the hotel workers in the event the Home Office press ahead with this foolish plan.

If they worked with the Council, Welsh Government and NHS they could stagger the arrivals so that a plan could be put in place for housing small family groups in different communities throughout the area instead of all in one place without support.

This is a bad idea, and while the owners rake in the profit and the UK Home Office refuse to engage with local communities or services, there are people who are suffering.

And just to be clear none of this is the fault of the Council, or the Welsh Government. We as your local representatives are enormously frustrated as we are in the dark too. This is the direct fault of the UK Tory Government who have broken promises to reform the system, failed to plan properly and are now managing their failures in the most appalling way. I hope people remember this when the General Election comes.”

Comments on the Facebook post by Mr Waters vary from sympathy to disdain.

Rhodri Evans said: “I’ve read somewhere that they could be taking in almost a million a month by housing these asylum seekers at the Stradey Park hotel.”

Mr Waters responded: “Rhodri Evans We won’t know as it’ll be classed as commercial confidential. But I suspect it’s almost a case of name their price.”

Ceri Davies said: ” Out of curiosity, where would they house small family groups? Would they be left to be homeless like other people in Carmarthenshire till a home becomes available or would they just jump to the top of the list? Very unfair.”

Michael Bugs Ditch said: ” If anyone outside that hotel was abusive to staff of the hotel I’d hardly call them protestors.
Maybe they need to take a long hard look at themselves and figure out what’s making them so angry they feel it’s acceptable to verbally abuse staff, who clearly and obviously had no knowledge of the hotel owners arrangements with the UK Government.”

Debbie Harding said: “I blame the hotel owners totally!! disgusting behaviour. if the owners were local then this wouldn’t be happening.”

Susan Stuart asked: “How can we, as a community, help?”

Lesley Hill said: “I hope that the Council is making arrangements to remove e the boulders that have been put outside the Hotel,
I really feel for the staff and for those that have booked weddings here. I can’t understand why people are protesting outside the hotel when what they need to be doing is contacting the owners or Home Office direct. So upsetting and disruptive for the staff.”

Debbie Sharp suggested a solution of utilising abandoned council properties. She said: “There’s an abandoned housing estate not far from there..why don’t the government spend the money on places like that..proper homes..I know it won’t be an Instant fix but it’ll be a start…llanelli needs the Stradey park as an hotel….”

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