Arora International Hotel Occupied


Campaigners protest against plans to turn Gatwick hotel into a detention centre

* Because there is more profit in having guests who can't leave!
* Arora plans to turn its four-star hotel at Gatwick airport into
an immigration detention centre.
* Campaigners vow to target the company unless the plans are

Anti-detention campaigners are currently holding a protest inside
the Arora International Hotel near Heathrow airport against what they
described as the hotel company's "cynical, profit-driven
opportunism." Armed with a banner and leaflets, they are
demanding that Arora drops its plans to turn one of its hotels into an
immigration prison.

Driven by what appears to be a decline in business, Arora
Management Services Ltd has applied to the Crawley Borough Council for permission to turn its four-star hotel at Gatwick airport, Mercure,
into an immigration detention centre. If the planning permission is
granted, the hotel will be converted into a secure, prison and the 245
bedrooms into single and family cells.

Like other private companies that run privatised detention
centres across the country, Arora is trying to sell its plan by
arguing that locating detention centres at airports would make
deportations easier and less costly for the government.

The Crawley Borough Council's Local Plan 2000 states that
planning permission "will not be granted for development within
the airport boundary which is not clearly required in this location
for [the airports] operational, functional, safety or security

Gatwick airport already has two detention centres: Tinsley House,
which can hold 125 male and female detainees, and the newly opened
Brook House, which can hold 426. Both are run by private security
company G4S.

Eight out of the UK's 11 immigration detention centres are run by
private companies. Four are located inside or near airports.

Campaigners argue that locating detention centres inside airports
also serves to keep detention and deportations out of the public gaze
as airports are subject to special bylaws and accessing them, for
example by visitors and campaigners, is much harder.

One of the protesters, who preferred to keep anonymous, said:
"This is just another example of cynical, profit-driven
opportunism of big companies wanting a slice of the lucrative
detention market. Thousands of innocent migrants are locked up in
immigration prisons across the country or prolonged periods of time
pending their forcible deportation. With no right to automatic bail
and no access to adequate legal representation, they are treated like
criminals when their only 'crime' is seeking safety or a better life.
It wouldn't be too far-fetched to argue that it is profit-driven
companies like Arora and G4S that drive such draconian

For any further enquiries, please contact:
Photos available on request.

Notes to editors:

1. The planning application CR/2009/0421/COU, with all the
relevant documents, can be viewed on the Crawley Borough Council
website (follow this link to open the page:

2. Established in 1999, Arora International Hotels is one of the
UK's fastest growing privately owned hotel companies, with six luxury
hotels in and around Heathrow and Gatwick airports and one in
Manchester city centre. For more details about the hotels and their
locations, see Arora's website at

3. No Borders London, part of the No Borders UK network, struggles
all immigration controls and for the freedom of movement and
equal rights for all. In September 2007, No Borders UK organised a No
Border Camp near Gatwick airport in protest at plans to open a new
detention centre there. Brook House was subsequently opened in March
2009. For more information about No Borders London, see