Venue: Council Chamber. Council Offices, Knowle Green, Staines-upon-Thames TW18 1XB
Contact: Karen Wyeth Email: email@example.com
Disclosures of Interest
To receive any disclosures of interest from Councillors in accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct for Members.
Cllrs Attewell and Sexton declared that they were Surrey County Councillors.
Afghan Bridging Hotel Closure
As a result of the Home Office’s approach to closing bridging hotels for Afghan families in August including the Mercure Hotel in Staines-upon-Thames, the Council needs to make urgent decisions about procurement of temporary accommodation of families. The Home Office imposed deadline is the 16thAugust and we anticipate that approximately 20 of the 27 families in the hotel may present themselves to the Council, at least initially, as homeless.
The policy framework and support on offer from the Home Office is very fluid, so whilst the Veterans Minister made an announcement yesterday (18th July) about providing some support for families with matched funding, the Home Office is still finalising its policy guidance and it is not yet clear whether there would be sufficient financial support.
The ECM report for consideration, detailing the varying options for how this authority needs to procure roughly 20 properties or circa 62 rooms in hotels with an associated gross cost of procuring for up to six months could exceed £1m, hence why the decision needs to be taken by full Council.
The imperative of this decision regrettably has triggered the need for members to be called to an Extraordinary Council Meeting to take place next week on Thursday 27th commencing at 6:30pm.
Please note that the speed of action within a Home Office funding policy vacuum translates as the biggest single challenge that our housing colleagues have faced in many-a-year, and every effort is being given to shoring up costed options as soon as is practicable into a report for members to consider. I am sure that members will commend the work that colleagues are endeavouring to undertake in support of our Afghan community.
Full Report to follow
This item is exempt as it contains exempt information within the meaning of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972, as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985 and by the Local Government (Access to information) (Variation) Order 2006 Paragraph 3 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information) and in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information because, disclosure to the public would prejudice the financial position of the authority in any lease, contract or other type of negotiation with the tenant or developer, who could then know the position of the Council.
Council considered a report that sought a decision on how to proceed with assisting Afghan refugees once the Afghan bridging hotel in Staines-upon-Thames was closed on 16 August 2023.
Council resolved to agree the recommendations as outlined in the report.