Security company G4S to run Wakefield’s Angel Lodge aslyum seeker hostel

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 hostel for asylum seekers looks set to reopen next month.

An email leaked to the Express from the UK Border Agency (UKBA) said security contractors G4S hoped to reopen Angel Lodge, on Love Lane, by September.

The centre caused protests when plans were first made public in 2001, and when it opened in 2007, due to its close proximity to the HMP Wakefield. It eventually closed last year after government funding was cut.

But the email received this week said G4S, working on behalf of UKBA, had begun discussions with police, councillors and the health service about reopening the hostel.

Sent out by a UKBA manager, the email said: “We can now formally confirm that G4S are working with local partners including police, planning and health service colleagues with a view to using the facility at Angel Lodge to accommodate asylum seekers.

“G4S are discussing initial accommodation (IA) plans with key corporate partners in the Wakefield district including local councillors and how G4S and their sub contractor intend to provide a service which is safe, well managed, protects vulnerable people and works with the local community.

“Subject to this ongoing liaison with local partners (including the incumbent provider of IA), UKBA would expect the building to start to be used from September 2012 (tbc) to enable a smooth transition of the current IA facility.”

Last month Mary Creagh MP urged UKBA to come clean with their plans for Angel Lodge. But they refused to confirm or deny the claim again this week.

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.

G4S were due to sole providers of security for the Olympics but made national headlines when they found they were unable to train enough staff.