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Thatcham Town Council to 'welcome' Regency Park asylum seekers to the town

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Thatcham Town Council has released its statement in response to the housing of asylum seekers in the town.

The announcement of the temporary arrangement was confirmed on the evening of January 28, explaining what was happening for a number of confused and concerned residents.

However, as West Berkshire Council and the Home Office kept a lid on the situation, the town council was oblivious to what was formally agreed between the Home Office and the hotel.

A full Thatcham Town Council meeting heard an official statement from mayor John Boyd on Monday night (January 31).
A full Thatcham Town Council meeting heard an official statement from mayor John Boyd on Monday night (January 31).

Though ward councillors had taken it upon themselves to investigate, it wasn't until a statement came from the local district authority that they could issue a statement of their own.

Talking to a full chamber of councillors on the evening of January 31, Thatcham's mayor told members that they ought to reach out to the hotel with an aim to welcome asylum seekers to the district.

Mr Boyd said: "The council is aware of a number of asylum seekers being housed temporarily in the Regency Park Hotel and the council is intending to liaise with the new managers there to establish what we, as the council and community leaders, can do to make their stay more comfortable and make them welcome to Thatcham and the district."

Prior to West Berkshire Council's statement, concern was rife in the town and ward councillor Jeremey Cottam (Lib Dem, Thatcham North East) said the situation was "very sad" and noted that the town council should not have been "left in the dark".

He said: “We have to look after people whoever they are.

“From a war-torn country, if they are in distress, fleeing oppression, if their lives are under threat, this country’s whole ethos is to look after these people.

"It is very sad, we should be able to prepare so it does not adversely affect surrounding neighbours."

Mr Boyd, on Monday night, told the councillors: "At this stage we understand that Clear Springs, who are managing the hotel, are not accepting offers for support for either food or donations but we will communicate with them on this issue and update our local residents as soon as we are able to."

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