Owners accused of ‘land grabbing’ at Stradey Park Hotel

Tensions have risen at Llanelli’s Stradey Park Hotel, with protestors and objectors claiming the hotel owners are pouring fuel on the fire.

Members of the Furnace Action Committee, the group of volunteers set up to oppose the plan to house asylum seekers at the four-star hotel and spa, are worried about this latest escalation of events.

Committee member Steve Williams said: “Lead Element security and Gryphon Leisure (the company owned by Robert Horwood and Gary Street from Essex) are continuing to try and raise tensions by their actions at the site.

“Last Friday, local residents sent a solicitor’s letter to the owners of the Stradey Park Hotel (Gryphon Leisure), stating that they and other residents and church parishioners would be using their prescribed rights to park on land at the hotel and unregistered land accessible through the hotel entrance.

“Residents had been parking in these areas for years without obstruction.

“Following the letter, limited parking was allowed, initially.

“However, on Monday (September 11) Lead Element security (the firm employed by Gryphon Leisure) returned and took over from the previous security company.

“There had been a friendlier atmosphere on site before this and limited police resources were required.

“Almost straight away, Lead Element installed a gate and stopped residents from parking on the land as they had done for years before.

“As a result, a solicitor’s letter was sent to Gryphon Leisure asking that the gate be taken down and the prescribed access be allowed. The letter gave 24 hours’ notice with the warning civil proceedings would follow.

“On the evening of September 13 and into September 14, security staff employed by Lead Element removed fencing that had been placed by a local resident to protect her parking area at the rear of her home.

“This area is NOT owned by Gryphon Leisure and this is clearly seen on land registry records as such.

“They are now blocking the area to the resident and other locals.

“This type of action was a concern several months ago and was expected.

“In fact, it was raised in a civil hearing regarding access on July 27.

“At the time there were worries of a potential land grab by Gryphon Leisure on July 27 and this was mentioned in open court.

“The latest action has now proved this fear to be accurate.

“Lead Element and Gryphon Leisure are in a contract with Clearsprings Ready Homes, who have a contract with the Home Office.

“As such they should act in accordance with the law and in particular ECHR human rights.

“By removing the historic parking access and the land grab there are breaches of Article 8 and the right to private life and also Article 9 and the right to assembly.

“The loss of parking will impact on the 21st Century Church, who have also historically parked in the areas under question.

“It is clear that agents and companies acting on behalf of the Home Office in relation to asylum centres are acting without consequences or recourse.

“This is a worrying turn of events that Government contracted companies can just grab land across the UK without any form of penalty.

“The Home Office don’t seem to be answerable for any of the actions. The time has come for Members of Parliament to ask the necessary questions for their constituents across the country.”

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