The sale of a hotel to house asylum seekers in Albergen can go ahead, a judge in Almelo has decided.
Owner Maria Olde Heuvel, who entered into the deal with refugee accommodation agency COA two weeks ago, claimed the contract was void because she had not known that up to 300 people would be housed in the hotel and in units in a field next to it.
COA took her to court on the day the exchange was due, saying she had known what the hotel was going to be used for all along. The organisation wants conversion work to start as soon as possible to ease pressure on the refugee reception centre in Ter Apel.
The judge found for COA, telling Olde Heuvel he understood she had been overwhelmed by the concern the sale has caused among the inhabitants of Albergen, a number of whom then tried to buy the hotel themselves.
‘This commotion wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t sold the hotel. You sold your hotel in good faith to a bona fide party. You are not to blame, but you do not have the right to renege on the sale,’ he said.
The first refugees are expected to arrive at the hotel in four weeks’ time. COA chief Milo Schoenmaker told the AD it should be possible to build a positive relationship with locals.
Feelings are running high, however, and police are currently investigating an suspected attempt to set fire to the hotel in the early hours of Monday morning.
Tubbergen local council, whose authority to decide on refugee accommodation issues had been bypassed under new rules, is reportedly looking into disputing the environmental permit for the hotel.
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