For some days, there has been uncertainty surrounding The Regency Park Hotel in Thatcham which had recently cancelled bookings from February onwards without explanation. It later transpired that all enquiries on the matter needed to be referred to the Home Office: as a spokesperson from West Berkshire Council explained to Penny Post on 25 January, this unfortunately prevented if from making any comment to explain what was happening.
This embargo now seems to have been lifted – the following statement was received by Penny Post at 4pm on 28 January 2022 which we’re happy to reproduce verbatim.
West Berkshire Council has recently been informed by the Home Office that it is using The Regency Park Hotel in Thatcham to accommodate asylum seekers.
This is a private arrangement between the Home Office and the hotel, and we were not involved in their negotiations. We are also not involved in the planning or day-to-day activities at the hotel. The Council and other agencies are only involved by way of the provision of any statutory duties.
In recent days we’ve seen unkind comments on social media in relation to the asylum-seekers. This is not who we are in West Berkshire and to people making these hurtful comments we say; be kind. We are working in partnership with Thames Valley Police around the concerning comments being made. Thames Valley Police will investigate instances of hate reported to them. We encourage those who experience or witness hate to report offences by calling non-emergency 101 or reporting online. If a crime is taking place right now, dial 999.
Fortunately the people making these comments are in the minority and we know that the vast majority of residents are welcoming to people in need and will help them to feel at home.