On October 24, it was revealed that 50 hotels across the country will cease to be used to house asylum seekers, and will go back to their original use.

One of these appears to be the Novotel in Ipswich, situated in Greyfriars Road.

Minister for Immigration, Robert Jenrick stated in Parliament yesterday, that the use of hotels had been "damaging", and that he, the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister thought it was "completely unacceptable and must end as soon as practicable". 

Mr Jenrick said that the first 50 of the exits from hotel accommodation will begin in the "coming days" and will be complete by the end of January.

Mr Jenrick also stated that more will follow shortly after, and they won't stop there, saying: "We will continue to deliver on our strategy to stop the boats and we will be able to exit more hotels.

"As we exit these hotels, we are putting in place dedicated resources to facilitate the orderly and effective management of this process and limit the impact on local communities."

Ipswich Star: Robert Jenrick, Minister for ImmigrationRobert Jenrick, Minister for Immigration (Image: PA)

The list of 50 hotels has yet to be announced but Ipswich's MP has confidently said the hotel is going to be back "for the benefit of the town". 

During a Facebook live on October 23, Ipswich MP Tom Hunt revealed that he was hoping to hear a "positive solution" to the situation at the Novotel.

The MP also spoke in Parliament following the minister's announcement.

He told the chamber that some of the workers who were "pressured to resign" should not only be offered their jobs back, but should be on better terms than they were before.

Mr Hunt said: "I’m very pleased the Novotel is going back to being a hotel for the benefit of the Town.

"Rightly this is something people in the town have felt incredibly strong about. It’s also something I’ve felt very strongly about.

“All those Ipswich residents who were pressured into redundancy should be offered their jobs again on better terms than before.”

During the discussion, Shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock questioned whether the hotels selected for the first tranche of “exiting” are located in marginal seats, as some reports have previously suggested.

“Does he really think the public might not see through that ruse?” Mr Kinnock said, asking whether the Government will publish a list naming the 50 hotels.

Ipswich Star: Tom Hunt MP for IpswichTom Hunt MP for Ipswich (Image: House of Commons)

In October 2022, it was revealed that the Home Office had taken control of the four-star hotel.

Among the objectors was the MP who at the time, said: "I'm not happy at all this is going ahead, and I've done everything I can to oppose it."

The High Court also threw out Ipswich Borough Council's request to extend its injunction against the Novotel. 

It has remained for a year a place for asylum seekers to live and last November, three shared their stories of how they came to live in Ipswich.

Last month Suffolk Refugee Support team shared how many were still "in limbo" as they awaited a decision on their asylum claim. 

If granted it would allow them to live and work in the UK.

The charity has been helping those housed in the building, with Martin Simmonds, fundraising and communications officer, saying last month: "Over the course of the year we've seen people arriving with fresh trauma and fewer possessions.

"We spend a great deal of time and resources filling in the gaps where processes have failed or people have not received the urgent support they are entitled to."

Ipswich residents have also shown their support over the last year, with over 100 people attending a pro-refugee rally in March, outside Novotel.

Local sports clubs have provided a range of sports activities for the people accommodated in Novotel, including a weekly football group supported by the Ipswich Town Foundation, as well as boxing at Murrayside Community Centre and cricket classes organised through Suffolk Cricket.