When I learnt of the decision to close Kilhey Court on Friday 18th August 2023 ( article here - Wigan's plushest hotel - Kilhey Court - is to house asylum-seekers (wigantoday.net)) I was like the most of Standishers who were all dismayed at this news that was rolled out that Kilhey Court was to close, jobs lost and weddings cancelled. In the article you can see the Council claim they have written to the Home Office already.
Disgusted and dismayed at this I started the petition to collect names online to call for this to be stopped. I did this on the same day the 18 August 2023 so we had the best chance of success. It would seem from the article on the 18th August 2023 the council agreed with us that this was not a suitable situation.. What I did question to myself was the Council said they welcomed these people but Kilhey Court wasn't the right location. The only question I had to that was where would the Council place them? They refuse to answer this!
After setting up the online petition I now know the Council, with possibly our Cllrs, reported that to the online provider to get that taken down . On the evening of Saturday 19th August 2023 that petition was taken down saying it was due to hatred it was causing in the community. That petition, which was redone was worded very carefully so no one would be able to say this. That petition had over 1250 names on it and lost. I have heard the Council and Cllrs hated the speed that the community were coming together nd it was myself that had done this. Who did it didn't matter, the main issue it was being done. The Council and cllrs had not at this point sent any letters to the home office and only action was to try and take down a community petition.
I then did the website and incorporated the new petition. I did this on the 19th and 20th August, inc overnight. There was no way the council and Standish Cllrs where going to gag Standishers.
So, after the Cllrs came out and said, and kept repeating, we have sent letters, I put in a FOI to the Council for a copy of the letter and they refuse to show us the letters but only extracts. The claim that it could endanger community relations if we see it. I also sent FOI to the Home Office asking when the Council and Cllrs send their letters and the responses.
The response from the Home Office is in and in line with our open and transparency policy here on Standish Views Matter (SVM) the response are below but the dates are here
Friday 18th August - Article in Wigantoday and this was when we first learnt of this.
Evening of Friday 18th August - Online petition started by Gareth Fairhurst
Saturday 19th August -Ince Cllr Maureen O'Bern shared the petition and called for a protest march.
Saturday 19th August - Wigan Council and poss with Standish Cllrs call for the online petition to be taken down.
Evening of Saturday 19 & overnight to Sunday 20 August Standish Views Matter started and has a new petition in the Standish Views Matters Website, this was so the council and Cllrs could not get it taken down again as we controlled it.
Monday 21 August - Cllr Deborah Parkinson emails the Home Office.
Wednesday 23 August - Cllr Ray Whittingham emails the Home Office
Monday 4th September - Cllr Deborah Parkinson emails the Home Office again.
Notice no emails from Wigan Council and or Labour Cllr Terry Mugan.
Cllr Deborah Parkinson shows the date she sent her original email/ letter and the Home Office response. This is 3 days after the online petition had started, 2 days after the protest march had been announced.
Cllr Ray Whittingham shows the date he sent her original email/ letter and the Home Office response. This is 5 days after the online petition had started, 4 days after the protest march had been announced.
Cllr Deborah Parkinson second email/ letter on 4th Sept.
Note - no letter back to the council and or Labour Cllr Terry Dugan.