The Urban Hotel in Grantham has cancelled bookings and weddings for at least the next six months after it was contracted to take in nearly 100 Afghanistan refugees.
They would be Afghans who have worked with the British forces in the country as cooks, drivers and IT workers as well as in other jobs. Families are among those who are being given accommodation.
A spokesman for The Urban Hotel told The Lincolnite: “We were contacted last week from the Home Office regarding refugees and housing them for at least six months.
“All 90 bedrooms have been taken by the Home Office and they (the refugees) started arriving yesterday (September 6). Around 50 rooms have already been taken and we are expecting all of them to be full by the end of today (Tuesday, September 7).
“Conference rooms have also been taken for local councils to provide assistance.
“We have started contacting wedding bookings and offered alternative options. We are still in the process of contacting them.
“We just want to apologise to people (who were booked in). A lot of been accepting, but some have been happy. We are here to help people.”
Lincolnshire councils and other public services are currently working with the Home Office to support Afghans who left their country over recent weeks to arrive in the UK.
Lincolnshire is expecting to welcome a small number of Afghan families as part of the first phase of a much wider national resettlement programme.
It was previously reported that Lincolnshire councils will look to take in at least 14 Afghan refugee families, but the exact numbers and locations are not being publicly disclosed.
Online room bookings appear to be currently unavailable until March 2022 and several people have said their upcoming weddings have been cancelled.
Gary Barlow tribute act Dan Hadfield, who was due to be performing at the hotel in October, posted on social media saying: “This is the oddest post yet, as this hasn’t happened to me before.
“The night at Grantham Urban Hotel on October 29 appears to be cancelled — and I’ve had it confirmed this morning that it is. With the limited information that they have given me this morning, they have stated that HMP having taken over the hotel and have shut it from this coming Monday for six months in order to accommodate and house Afghan refugees.
“I don’t really know what to say. If you have bought a ticket, you will need to try to contact the hotel itself for refunds. I’m really not sure though if any of us will see anything in this respect, but I will update when I know more.
“On a personal note, I hope that any refugees coming from Afghanistan or any place of unrest are welcomed by us as a country. Remember that, for the most part, we don’t know how lucky we are over here on our sleepy little island.”
Slimming World with Rhona Grantham & Bottesford posted on Facebook saying: “After a very stressful weekend searching out a new venue for our Thursday group, following the sudden Government acquisition of the Urban Hotel I am delighted to announce our new home from this Thursday, September 6 is Grantham Squash & Fitness, Harlaxton Road.”
Meanwhile, a Lincoln taxi driver, who is stuck in Afghanistan whilst trying to rescue his family, is worried he will not make it back to “my beautiful Lincoln” as people continue to be attacked by the Taliban.