New asylum hostel claim

Angel Lodge, a temporary hostel for asylum seekers, is being closed down by government spending cuts.
Angel Lodge, a temporary hostel for asylum seekers, is being closed down by government spending cuts.

A CONTROVERSIAL city centre asylum seeker’s hostel could reopen, the Express understands.

It is believed Angel Lodge, which provided temporary accommodation to asylum seekers before it shut in March last year, could be brought back into use.

The centre caused protests when plans were first made public in 2001, and when it opened in 2007.

The UK Border Agency would not confirm or deny the claim this week, but said it had been considering sites.

And Mary Creagh MP, who initially tried to prevent the Love Lane site from opening, urged the agency to be clear on its plans this week.

She said: “It is important the local community is kept informed about any decision on the future of the centre.

“I am seeking assurances from the Home Office that any future service is properly managed, secure and able to meet the needs of the individuals and the wider Wakefield community.”

Up to 180 people were staying at the hostel for between two and four weeks at a time while it was open.

Tenants included Iraqi interpreters issued with death threats after helping UK troops and people fleeing torture and rape in war-torn countries.

But there were concerns about how close the hostel was to the HMP Wakefield prison.

It closed last year after its funding was cut.

And Angel Services (UK), which was running the centre, was fined for safety breaches last year after a court heard the site’s fire alarm was not working.

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: “We regularly consider additional or alternative sites at which to offer asylum accommodation. We do not disclose details until we are in a position to make formal announcements.”