Together, we can
Save Our Stradey Park and Neighbourhood
To stop an iconic hotel to become an asylum hostel
The Home Office proposed to use Stradey Park Hotel in the village of Furnace in Llanelli as emergency accommodation for 241 Asylum Seekers, whilst they wait for their application to be processed. The venue is totally unsuitable to house such large numbers. The 241 people who are yet to be checked and vetted to be genuine asylum seekers will be concentrated into one place. Residents are concerned about the welfare and safety in the community and the impact this will have on their already over stretched public services. They are protesting to save the hotel and to stop the Home Office to use the hotel as an emergency accommodation.
Timeline of the happenings
- 23 May 2023 – news broke that the Home Office were intending to place up to 300 Asylum Seekers at the Stradey Park and Spa, Furnace, Llanelli. No consultation had taken place with the people in the community. The people were never asked.
- 28 May – a public meeting was called to discuss these proposals.
- 30 May – it was decided to set up a community Facebook page called Save Our Stradey Park and Neighbourhood (SOSPAN), to keep the community updated, informed and engaged.
- 3 June – peaceful protests were arranged on every Saturday and Sunday outside the hotel. For the first few weeks there were around 10 protestors outside the hotel, as the word spread around the area, the support grew dramatically over the next few weeks.
- 27 June – An announcement was made that 95 member of staff at the hotel were to be made redundant from July 10.
- 7 July – Carmarthenshire County Council had a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in an effort to stop the Hotel being used to house the Asylum Seekers. They lost the case.
- 7 July – The protesters starts their camp at the entrance to the Hotel 24 hours a day, on the private land owned by four residents leading up to the Hotel, Giving permission to set up a Marquee on this private land. This provided shelter for over night campers and during the wet weather.
- 9th July – Peaceful protests continued over the weekend, resulting in Dyfed-Powys Police arresting two people on suspicion of obstruction. In addition a protestor who boldly chained herself to the hole in the hedge, (now infamously known as the most widely police protected hole in the hedge), to prevent access was also arrested. The police later returned and obstructed the same area with a police van and several police officer.
- July 10 – The expected move in date for the asylum seekers stopped!
- 12 July – Carmarthenshire County Council issued a temporary stop notice to the owners of Stradey Park Hotel stopping anyone from using a hedge clearing as an access point due to what it considers to be “a breach of planning control”.
- 13 July – Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn calling for ‘Pause and Review’ of plans by Home Office to accommodate asylum seekers at Llanelli Hotel amid escalating local tensions.
- 13 July – The security at the hotel leaves with the police facilitating and escort. Protestors sings “Cheerio cheerio cheerio” as they left.
- 16 July – Neil Hamilton leader of UKIP visits to speak to the protestors and concerned residents outside the hotel.
- 17 July – Richard Tice leader of Reform UK visits to speak to the protestors and concerned residents outside the hotel, offers words of encouragement, did a segment on the amazing work done so far by the peaceful protestors on the Mike Graham Show on Talk TV and gets an exclusive article in the Daily Mail.
- 19 July – The controversial celeb Katie Hopkins visits to highlight what the protestors are doing and offer words of encouragement. She helped raise the profile of what the protestors have been doing to her followers on social media.
- 20 July – Carmarthenshire County Council issue a statement that they will not be proceeding with the application for a permanent injunction.
- 21 July – The Save Our Stradey Park and Neighbourhood (SOSPAN) Facebook group page grew to 7.2K members, receiving support from all over the UK.
- 22 July – Stradey Park Hotel makes High Court application to prevent campaigners from entering the access way to the hotel. To be heard on 25 July.
- 25 July – The judge has adjourned the case until Thursday 27th as he wants to hear from local residents in Furnace. Another small victory for the residents of Furnace and the surrounding area.
- 27 July – Sadly the judge favoured the hotel owners and they have gained access to the hotel, a 12 ft access granted to the hotel. The judge confirms peaceful protest is allowed to continue. The fight will continue.
- 28 July – Protestors respects the court’s decision and allows the 12 ft access to the hotel unhindered. Security moves back into the hotel.
- 5 Aug – The first delivery of beds to the hotel in unmarked lorries.
- 8 Aug – A demonstrator – a concerned resident was injured by a contractor to the hotel who knocked into one of the stone boulders and injuring him, he left the scene by driving off. The injured person was taken to Cardiff hospital. It has been reported to the police but no action was taken at that time.
- 9 Aug – unmarked vehicle, identified as uninsured and untaxed enters into the hotel. The driver was masked and gloved. This was reported to the police.
- 11 Aug – the stone boulder which was previously hit by a Contractor has now been famously named ‘Wilson’. It has since been hit 3 times.
- 12 Aug – several bird eye view of the hotel shows the shocking state outside Stradey Park Hotel created by the Contractors. Rubble and rubbish piled up, asbestos and rat infestation is seen on the grounds.
- 3 Sept – a fantastic drive by Stradey Park Hotel in support of the protestors was organised which saw hundreds of supporters come out in support of the protestors.
- 14 Aug – an increase of police presence is seen at the hotel for several days.
- There has been several arrests of peaceful protestors, including an elderly 77 year old gentleman, concerned residents in the community and several influential YouTubers who have been helping to raise the profile of what’s been happening at Stradey Park. At one point there was over 20 police officers guarding the 12 ft access way to the hotel premises, 8 police officers to arrest a peaceful ex-veteran YouTuber reporting on what’s been happening at the protest and had all his filming equipment removed. Local residents have also been approached by police officers outside their homes for alleged comments made on social media. All incidents have been captured on video and there is an increased discontent from the local residents and people further afield of the recent police actions seen in the community. Many have yet to be charged but have been given bail conditions including no mention of Stradey Park online, to stay away from hotel, Furnace and Wales.
- It was identified the inside of the hotel is in an unhabitable and unsafe condition created by the hotel contractors, with exposed walls and ceilings, stripped walls and ceilings to its battens, water damage and the presence of asbestos.
- Sept – Charges and bail conditions are dropped for some of the protestors who were falsely arrested. Some remain with bail conditions but without yet to be charged for an offence.
- 12 Sept – The initial security contractors Lead Element Security moves back into the hotel. They have refused to display their SIA badges which may be in breach of licencing laws – the police have refused to take any action.
- 14 Sept – Members of the security firm contracted by Clearsprings removes some of the fencing, threatens and intimidates the protestors on site and one of the security staff is seen carrying a knife, frightening the concerned local people present including the women and elderly pensioners who were freely exercising their freedom to protest. All footage have been captured on camera. The police officers present have yet to take any action and the two tier policing witnessed at this protest continues, with every action taken by the police seem to have been to protect the hotel owners and not the local citizens. This has caused the supporting men and women to step up and increased their presence on site. Many of the elected members, AM and MP continue to remain silent in support of the concerned residents at the time when the constituents require their representation the most.
- 15 Sept – The police have finally started investigation on the reports of the security member contracted to the hotel who was carrying a knife at the Stradey Park Hotel. This is the first time the police have taken some action, having ignored many other reported crimes carried out by several contractors to the hotel over the past few months. The people await to see the outcome, as this will set the stone in how the community will further perceive the police and policing in the area.
- 20 Sept – The Security continue to agitate the protestors, police presence remain in place to guard the entrance to the hotel grounds and assisting with the prevention of local residents to the access to the rear of their property which they have had previously accessed for over 25 years.
- 1 Oct – The second Stradey Park drive by was organised by supporters to show their support to the protestors. Hundreds of vehicles and thousands of people turned up in the rain to show support. It seemed the Police continued to guard the private grounds of the hotel on behalf of the hotel owners, as a result one Biker was almost peppered sprayed by a lady Police Officer whilst he was still on his bike, this could have caused serious harm to herself and the general public at the drive through. The event was watched all over the world with live streaming on social media on the day and after the event. It has received millions of views on YouTube, Tik Tok, Instagram and other social media platforms. A fire was started at the hotel and we are yet to hear the full details of cause of the fire.
- 4 Oct – Over 24 Police Officers were present to arrest one individual outside a local pub and who showed no resistance, he is known by the police and he could have been arrested at his home address, however, the Police force chose to arrest this individual in public and create the scene so that it could be videoed and live streamed all over social media.
- Vehicles have always had access to the hotel through the 12 ft access way granted by the Courts. However, on this evening, over 50 Police Officers were present to help escort two security vehicles into the hotel. With the excessive police presence, the police escalating the situation with the peaceful protestors, a couple of Police Officers filmed pushing an elderly man and woman several times on the streets created protestors to shout at the police about their behaviour. Several arrests were carried out and continued into the next day. An attempt by the police to escalate the situation and to try to put a stop to the peaceful protest by means of increasing arrests and placing bail conditions on individuals have only increased support amongst the residents, protestors and supporters all over the UK. Everyone has a right to peaceful protest in this country.
- 5 Oct – Notice from the Fire Authority was issued stating the hotel was not to be used as sleeping accomodation due to insufficient fire separation between rooms and floors, means of fire escape and fire detection in the hotel.
- 10 Oct – VICTORY DAY Confirmation received from the Home Office of its decision to withdraw its plans to use Stradey Park Hotel. Power to the people. Llanelli will continue to support those who have faced injustices during the peaceful protest and will keep on standing together. Well done Llanelli.
What we have achieved
- We have been permanently camped outside the hotel entrance 24/7 since Friday 7 July. The long hours and dedication of many of the protestors have been outstanding.
- We have prevented the advance security party from preparing the hotel for the new arrivals.
- We have turned away delivery trucks of beds and other equipment.
- We have successfully challenged the illegal entry to the hotel via the hedge on Pentropoeth Road.
- We have spoken to contractors and delivery people to the hotel and some have done the right thing and turned away from supplying the hotel. These include, suppliers of dehumidifiers, skip hire and roofing.
- The peaceful protest has gained national coverage, with appearances on mainstream media, GB News, Talk TV and has exploded on social media channels with many videos shared to millions nationally and across the world.
- Identified the piles of rubbish outside the hotel premises, the damage and unhibitable state of the hotel created by the contractors. The hotel is not fit for purpose as it stand currently.
- 15,000 flyers printed and distributed to the residents in the community within a couple of days with the support of many volunteers.
- The support of local businesses and many individuals who provides daily updates on the what is happening on the ground. Thanks to Phil Watkins and many others for providing their regular video updates to keep everyone informed.
- The support of people from all over the country and further afield, with flags being sent to the protestors at Stradey Park Hotel to be displayed on site.
- Llanelli leading the way in standing up to Gryphon Leisure, Clearsprings, Home Office plans and the Government immigration policies and mess.
- Home Office withdraws its plans to use the hotel to house over 241 undocumented and unvetted asylum seekers.
This has all been achieved by the residents and community coming together and working as one with no help from any of the local elected representatives.
“From the people at the frontline, to the people who provided the gazebo, the electric, food and refreshments, to those who made the cups of tea, to those who kept the camp in a tidy and orderly manner, to those who kept the public informed with their posts and live videos, to those who help raise publicity for the cause and got people talking about Llanelli SOSPAN (Llanelli has never been mentioned so many times in the media at one time), to those businesses who supported, to those who kept spirits high and to spreading the word. To all those who supported or contributed in some way – no ONE person takes the credit but Furnace, Llanelli, Supporters you have stayed UNITED and held the line for over 18 weeks since the meeting at Selwyn Centre. Well done everyone!”
- Visit the marquee and talk to us – help keep spirit up 24/7
- Join the official protest
- Buy one of our t-shirts and merchandise.
- Talk to others and tell them what we are doing.
The SOSPAN group is entirely run by volunteers. We appreciate every person who give their time to this cause, no matter what they do, small and large, they have all stood together to say “NO” to the Home Office plans.
If you’d like to volunteer to help in some way, get in touch with us.
We would like you to keep you updated on the latest development of this protest.
If you are local connect with us on Facebook or from further afield sign up to our mailing list and we will keep you informed.