Travelodge criticised after homeless and vulnerable asked to leave

Hotel chain Travelodge has been criticised after it closed a number of hotels being used to house homeless and vulnerable people, leaving some fearing they would have nowhere to go.

The company said that, acting in line with government coronavirus guidance issued on Monday, it had begun advising councils of its plans to close a number of branches.

It added that it told local authorities to move any temporary residents to one of the 140 of its hotels that remain open.

However, on Tuesday, the Ministry of Housing tweeted: "All hotels, hostels, and B&Bs providing rooms to support people who are homeless through arrangements with local authorities and other public bodies should remain open and are not affected by the guidance issued yesterday."

22 PHOTOS
Britain in coronavirus lockdown
See Gallery
Britain in coronavirus lockdown
Composite photos of Bournemouth beach on 28/06/19 (top), and on Monday 23/03/20 (bottom), the day Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A composite image of London's Canary Wharf Jubilee Line platform on 31/01/13 (top), and on Tuesday 24/03/20 (bottom), the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Composite photos of London's National Gallery in Trafalgar Square on 28/01/14 (top), and on Tuesday 24/03/20 (bottom), the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Composite photos of London's Tower Bridge on 16/03/20 (top), and on Tuesday 24/03/20 (bottom), the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A composite image of commuters at Waterloo station in London on 12/03/20 (top), and on Wednesday 25/03/20 (bottom), after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Composite photos of ticket holders for Comedy about a Bank Robbery in line outside the Criterion Theatre, London on 12/03/20 (top), and the theatre on Tuesday 24/03/20 (bottom), the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A composite image of of commuters crossing London Bridge on 13/03/20 (top), and on Wednesday 25/03/20 (bottom), after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Composite photos of London's Buckingham Palace during the Changing of the Guard on 13/03/20 (top), and on Tuesday 24/03/20 (bottom), the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Composite photos of Bournemouth beach on 14/09/19 (top), and on Monday 23/03/20 (bottom), the day Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A composite image of people walking across the Millennium Bridge, London, with St Paul's Cathedral in the background, on 13/03/20 (top), and on Wednesday 25/03/20 (bottom), after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A composite image of London's Canary Wharf Station on 17/03/20 (top), and on Tuesday 24/03/20 (bottom), the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Composite photos of ticket holders for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in line outside the Palace Theatre, London on 12/03/20 (top), and the theatre on Tuesday 24/03/20 (bottom), the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A composite image of London's Canary Wharf Station on 17/03/20 (top), and on Tuesday 24/03/20 (bottom), the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A composite image of the streets in the centre of Bath busy with visitors and shoppers on 11/03/20 (top) and the empty streets on Tuesday 24/03/20 the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A composite image of visitors to Leicester Square, London, on 13/03/20 (top), and on Wednesday 25/03/20, (bottom), after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Composite photos of ticket holders for Ticket holders for Come from Away in line outside the Phoenix Theatre, London on 12/03/20 (top), and the theatre on Tuesday 24/03/20 (bottom), the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A composite image of the streets in the centre of Bath busy with visitors and shoppers on 11/03/20 (top) and the empty streets on Tuesday 24/03/20 the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Composite photos of Edinburgh's Royal Mile on 14/03/20, and on Saturday (21/03/20) after bars, pubs and restaurants were instructed to close. Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown on Monday night to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A composite image of the streets in the centre of Bath busy with visitors and shoppers on 11/03/20 (top) and the empty streets on Tuesday 24/03/20 the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Composite photos of people on the beach at Barry Island, South Wales, on 14/09/19 (top), and on Wednesday 25/03/20 (bottom), after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Composite photos of people on the beach at Barry Island, South Wales, on 19/06/17 (top), and on Wednesday 25/03/20 (bottom), after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A composite image of the streets in the centre of Bath busy with visitors and shoppers on 11/03/20 (top) and the empty streets on Tuesday 24/03/20 the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

One anonymous housing officer said they were left "scrambling" to find accommodation after being given two hours' warning that one Travelodge was to close.

"The local authority I work for had several families and single vulnerable people in Travelodge as we use it for placing people in temporary accommodation," they told the PA news agency.

"More and more people are becoming vulnerable due to cuts in services such as mental health, but also because of possible coronavirus isolation and underlying health issues.

"When Travelodge gave all these people notice, it meant that they lost the accommodation immediately, but we have a legal obligation to provide accommodation so were scrambling to find something else for them.

"This puts undue stress on officers and the families to find accommodation when everything is locked down and everyone is competing for the same few spaces."

Sharon Chambers' 20-year-old daughter was moved into a Travelodge in Bromley, south-east London, in March, after she lost the use of both legs.

The family home was not suitable for a wheelchair, and the hospital ward she had been on was to be used to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms Chambers, 58, said her daughter was given less than an hour's notice to leave, and added that Lewisham Council was initially not made aware of Travelodge's plans, which the council confirmed.

Later, the hotel informed Ms Chambers' daughter that she would be allowed to stay the night, and on Wednesday morning she was moved to a nearby branch.

"The whole situation, the way it was handled, is just absolutely disgusting," Ms Chambers told PA.

"The only reason it got resolved was that we stood our ground. For people who didn't have someone to give them the backing, they ended up in far different circumstances."

One Travelodge resident's belongings in the hotel foyer
Sharon Chambers' daughter's belonging in the hotel foyer (Sharon Chambers/PA)

James Yalden, from Guildford, Surrey, was told he had to leave a Travelodge in the town on Tuesday.

The 55-year-old had been staying in the hotel with his partner while they waited for builders to complete work on his flat, and was left with nowhere to go upon being told to leave.

"I went down to reception to redo my car parking and the receptionist very offhandedly said 'Oh, just to let you know, you need to move out today'," Mr Yalden told PA. "I wasn't expecting that.

"I literally had nowhere else to go. I couldn't move to the new flat because there were no utilities working. I literally would have had to sleep in the car."

Mr Yalden said a tearful receptionist had been on the phone with the council to tell them she was about to ask those they had temporarily homed there to leave.

He managed to get a place at a nearby Holiday Inn because his partner is a key worker at a supermarket.

"I hope we remember after (coronavirus) those people that behaved well during it and those people that behaved badly, because I'll never stay in a Travelodge again," he said.

Travelodge said in a statement: "Travelodge has been obliged to commence the temporary closure of its hotels in line with the instructions from the Government on 24 March 2020.

"We do expect to remain open in selected critical locations across the country to support accommodation for emergency workers and other groups.

"We are reviewing daily which hotels are best positioned to support the needs that arise with the government while ensuring we comply with the new restrictions in place to protect the public."

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS