HBC leader: Hastings to take 100 refugees

Refugees queue for supplies in 'The Jungle' refugee camp, Calais. Picture courtesy of Amanda Baker, founder of Blueprint 22 youth organisation SUS-150709-124148001
Refugees queue for supplies in 'The Jungle' refugee camp, Calais. Picture courtesy of Amanda Baker, founder of Blueprint 22 youth organisation SUS-150709-124148001

Hastings could take up to 100 Syrian refugees, according to the leader of the town council.

Peter Chowney posted on the Facebook ‘Hastings Supports Refugees Group’ saying Hasting Borough Council (HBC) has volunteered for more refugees.

Peter Chowney welcomed the news

Peter Chowney welcomed the news

The number is subject to support from social and education services from East Sussex County Council.

“Hastings Council has volunteered to accept 100 Syrian refugees over the five year period of the government programme,” he wrote.

“So [they] would be brought directly from the refugee camps in Lebanon and Turkey, subject to social and education services support being provided by East Sussex County Council (which I don’t expect to be a problem).

“As yet, we don’t know when they’ll start to arrive, but it ought to be possible to house them in the private rented sector.

“Offers of support are still valuable though, it will be good to have a network of supporters who can help them settle in.

Earlier this week the Observer reported the town would be taking eight refugees as part of the Government initiative.

Mr Chowney also wrote he was upset to learn of a petition started to stop any refugees coming to Hastings.

“Unfortunately, I have already learned of a petition someone has started to stop refugees coming to Hastings, which I personally find abhorrent,” he said.

“I cannot understand why anyone would not want to welcome them to Hastings, considering the scale of the humanitarian crisis we’re facing.

“So any petitions that anyone could get together urging the council to accept the refugees, and to welcome them, would be appreciated.”

Generally people commented positively on the post but some raised concerns about where they are going to go and wondering why the figure is not even higher.

Chris Matheson wrote: The last time we took a large group of refugees in, it did seem that a hotel in Warriors Square made a lot of money out of them.

“So much, that it seemed they managed to buy up a lot of the properties around them, to expand their business.

“A business model that seemed to be built on housing refugees.”

Mr Chowney replied by saying that was caused by refugees being placed in too few places so the council will try to place them in permanent accommodation as soon as possible.

Marta Munoz said: “100 over 5 years!!! I find that appalling! Why such a low figure?”

Which Mr Chowney replied to with: “It’s more than double the number we’d be expected if it was done simply on a pro-rate basis across the country.

“The numbers will be limited by the amount of available housing, and school places.

“If we can house more than that, we will.”

BREAKING NEWS: Small number of Syrian refugees being relocated to Hastings

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