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BBC Scotland's Sangeeta Mhaiskar reports
"Not everybody is too pleased"
 real 28k

Friday, 1 December, 2000, 18:51 GMT
Asylum seekers plan for hotel
Romanians outside tower blocks
Many of the families are housed in tower blocks
Plans are being drawn up to turn a well-known Glasgow hotel into a hostel for asylum seekers.

An application has been submitted to Glasgow City Council to convert the Kelvin Park Lorne Hotel.

The company behind the scheme, the Wealdstone-based Leena Corporation, is under contract from the government to find accomodation around the UK for asylum seekers.

Similar plans to turn hotels into hostels elsewhere have provoked a storm of criticism.

Politicians in Morecambe, Lancashire, branded as "totally inappropriate" Leena Corporation's request to adapt the Grosvenor Hotel.

Leena will have been in consultation with the hotel owners

DTZ Pieda Consulting
Glasgow City Council confirmed an application had been lodged to change the use of the three-star 100-bedroom hotel for a period of five years.

"We are dealing with it as a normal application," a spokeswoman said.

Councillors will consider the move next year but at present, the documents' progress through council channels is being delayed by Unison's ongoing strike action over a pay dispute.

A statutory notice advising of the plan will be placed in newspapers shortly, giving local people the chance to comment.

Kelvin Park Lorne Hotel
The hotel is in the west end of Glasgow
The application is being managed on behalf of Leena by DTZ Pieda Consulting in Edinburgh.

A spokesman said: "Leena will have been in consultation with the hotel owners."

He added that the plan did not involve any structural changes to the building.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "Leena Corporation have a contract with National Asylum Support Services to supply accommodation.

"But at this stage, it has only supplied a small number in England and Wales."

Dispersal policy

She added that any property earmarked for such a hostel would be checked against Home Office suitability criteria.

No-one was available for comment at the head office of the hotel's owners, Corus and Regal.

Hundreds of asylum seekers are housed in Glasgow as part of the Home Office's policy of dispersing them around the country to spread the burden on local authorities.

Asylum seeker
An inquiry is under way into the treatment of asylum seekers
Many are in high-rise flats in the Springburn area in the north of the city.

There have been reports of racist incidents involving asylum seekers and refugees.

Although the city has taken in asylum seekers for many years, the first in a wave of 600 from Somalia and Romania arrived in March.

They are staying in the city while their applications to remain in the UK are processed, a period which is likely to last for about two years.

Glasgow City Council has stressed that the cost is being borne by the UK Government and they are being housed in blocks where there is a high turnover of flats.

Council 'overwhelmed'

The Scottish Parliament's social inclusion committee has launched an inquiry into the treatment of asylum seekers.

In evidence to the committee last month, the chief executive of the Scottish Refugee Council said the organisation had been so overwhelmed that it had at one point been forced to stop taking calls for help.

She was speaking to MSPs two days after the council published a report along with Save the Children Scotland which said most child refugees had experienced abuse or racism.

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See also:

01 Dec 00 | Scotland
Neighbours oppose asylum hostel plan
22 Nov 00 | Scotland
Refugee system under strain
20 Nov 00 | Scotland
Refugee children tell of racism
08 Nov 00 | Scotland
Asylum seekers inquiry launched
25 Jul 00 | Scotland
'Racism' sends refugees south
22 Mar 00 | Scotland
Leaflets 'target refugees'
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