Villagers living near a hotel which has been earmarked as an accommodation centre for 300 refugees have been told they cannot thwart the government’s plans by buying the building.
A spokesman for the asylum accommodation service COA told NOS the contract to purchase the ‘t Elshuys hotel in Albergen, near Tubbergen in Overijssel, had already been signed and the organisation would take ownership on September 1.
Junior justice minister Erik van der Burg used his ministerial power to give a licence to convert the hotel to an asylum seekers’ accommodation after talks with the local community reached a stalemate.
The decision, the first time a cabinet has overruled local authorities to designate an accommodation site for refugees, sparked an angry backlash from local councillors and residents.
‘It’s not right that the minister can just dump this in our back yard,’ Ursula Bekhuis-Groothuis, Tubbergen’s alderman for housing, told NOS.
On Wednesday dozens of locals protested for hours outside the building, where they say the arrival of 300 people will have a drastic impact on the community of 3,500.
The owner of the hotel left during the night on the advice of police, after becoming the focus of anger from residents who said she had reached a deal with the COA behind their backs.
The hotel has a maximum capacity of 200 guests, but the COA plans to use tents and temporary cabins to create more space.
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