A town centre hotel is back in use after being temporarily taken over by the Home Office to house asylum seekers.

The Novotel hotel, in Grey Friars Road, was one of 50 hotels across the country that was acquired for the purpose in October 2022.

It was revealed that the Home Office had taken over the four-star hotel, a decision which proved to be controversial - with Ipswich Borough Council seeking an injunction after the news broke.

Among the objectors was Tom Hunt, who was Ipswich MP and is standing to win back the seat for the Conservatives in next month's general election.

At the time of the hotel's closure, he said: "I'm not happy at all this is going ahead, and I've done everything I can to oppose it."

Mr Hunt is now happy that the hotel has returned to its former use.

He said: “I was pleased that I was able to ensure that the Novotel was one of the first hotels in the country to be returned to its proper use.

Ipswich Star: MP Tom Hunt, House of CommonsMP Tom Hunt, House of Commons (Image: House of Commons) 

“Ultimately though the only way we can sort this issue is by deporting all of those who illegally enter our country.”

Mr Hunt addressed the House of Commons in October about the impact on workers "forced to resign" arguing they should be offered their jobs back on better terms.  

He also said: “I hope that very soon the planes will be ready to transport many of those at the Novotel to Rwanda.” 

An Ipswich Borough Council spokesperson said: “The council welcomes the news that the Novotel is open for business as it plays an important part in the town’s economy.”

The owners of the Novotel said last year that when temporary contracts between hotel owners and the government come to an end, the company would assess each property and return it to the standard required.

In December, it was said that the hotel was undergoing maintenance and refresh works

A spokesperson confirmed that the hotel re-opened to the public in March.