Call for East Hampshire District Council offices to be used as Ukraine refugees centre

Friday 8th April 2022 6:00 am
East Hampshire District Council’s Penns Place offices in Petersfield
East Hampshire District Council’s Penns Place offices in Petersfield (Tindle )

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THE REDUNDANT Penns Place offices of East Hampshire District Council should be turned into a centre for Ukrainian refugees, according to Liberal Democrat group leader Cllr Steve Hunt.

Cllr Hunt made the suggestion as he looked at ways the council could help those fleeing the war.

He said: “Now that East Hampshire District Council is pressing ahead with relocating its headquarters, can’t the building frequently referred to as the Marie Celeste be converted into a refugee centre?

“If not the whole building, at least part could be used to provide shelter for Ukrainians and indeed those fleeing other war zones.

“There is a weekday bus route to connect to Petersfield, perhaps that could be extended to weekends?”

Cllr Hunt believed his idea deserved “serious thought” by the council leadership, although he acknowledged the practicality and cost of turning offices into accommodation would need careful consideration.

He added: “Even if the idea of turning the empty council headquarters into a refugee centre does not go ahead, East Hampshire District Council has a portfolio of buildings in its ownership which can be looked at for suitability.”

Cllr Hunt felt the council should back up the efforts of individuals – such as Bordon One Stop manager Lucy Tyler and her customers, who raised £200 in two days to help pay for supplies which Bordon resident Jonathan Ralston drove to the Ukrainian border. Mr Ralston said he was “totally overwhelmed by the amazing warmth and generosity”.

Cllr Hunt said: “I suspect many of those making donations are themselves struggling with money.

“But we are all human beings and want to do our bit. My view is that where there is a will, there is a way.”


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