A YORK parish council is asking why it wasn’t informed that asylum seekers were to be accommodated in a local hotel.

The council’s chairman said the first that he and other councillors knew of the men staying there was when they saw them wandering near the hotel and up and down the road.

He said City of York Council had announced last month that up to 90 asylum seekers were coming to York but didn’t say they were coming to the parish.

“Somebody in authority decided we weren’t going to be told about it, so we weren’t,” he said.

He said several parish councillors had sent emails off to their ward councillor saying: ‘come on, tell us what’s going on?’ and a Zoom meeting was then arranged at which the situation was explained.

A resident told the parish council she was concerned about the matter.

Members voted to ask the York Council why the parish wasn’t informed about the accommodation of the asylum seekers in the hotel, which one said effectively amounted to a change of use from hotel to hostel.

The council narrowly voted against another motion asking for the parish to be shown the risk assessment carried out before the asylum seekers were accommodated there.

The chairman has now written to a ward councillor to say that placing up 90 foreign men in a hotel for an extended period within a rural community was not going to go unnoticed – ‘so why the secrecy?’

He said: “Covering the situation with a veil of secrecy only fans the flames of fear and has not helped the parish council, which is looked upon by many for a reassurance that is not ours to give.”

A council spokesperson said: “Having been informed by the Home Office and Mears Group that accommodation was to be provided in York, the council announced this as soon as possible.

“The council has coordinated additional voluntary support, worked to maintain community cohesion alongside North Yorkshire Police and aimed to ensure the safety of vulnerable people at a private location. We have kept ward councillors informed and we continue to work with parish councils as appropriate.”

*The Press has not identified the hotel or the parish council at the request of the Home Office.