ASYLUM seekers who are being housed at a hotel near Colchester are being subjected to ‘a shameful lack of care’, a council leader has claimed.

The Gazette revealed in November the Holiday Inn Express, in Langham, was being used as a safe haven for about 100 Afghan refugees.

Since then, fears have been raised about the welfare of the asylum seekers, who have been given sub-standard food and isolated in the rural hotel which lacks public transport links into Colchester.

Colchester council leader David King has now written a letter to Home Secretary Suella Braverman and immigration minister Robert Jenrick to draw attention to what he has described as “a shameful lack of care for asylum seekers” at the Langham hotel.

When contacted by the Gazette, however, the Home Office said it does not comment on operational arrangements for individual sites, adding the 45,500 asylum seekers in UK hotels were costing the taxpayer £5.6million a day.

The open letter from Mr King said the hotel's location and access to healthcare were inadequate.

He said: “Due to work force issues, [the special allocations service] has only been able to attend the hotel two or three times – residents are relying on calls to 111 and calls to 999 to access medications.

“There have been two scabies outbreaks at the hotel and due to lack of primary care and diagnosis this has spread out into the wider community including local CVS organisations.

“There are serious concerns about the mental health of a number of the residents.”

He added: “The hotel is dirty, cleaning regimes are poor, our community and voluntary organisations receive daily complaints about the food.

“Bed linen doesn't seem to be cleaned regularly and with the scabies outbreak this is essential.

"I ask for an urgent acknowledgement and action and for confirmation of the steps being taken."

A spokesman for the Home Office said: “The number of people arriving in the UK who require accommodation has reached record levels and has put our asylum system under incredible strain.

“We engage with local authorities as early as possible whenever sites are used for asylum accommodation and work to ensure arrangements are safe for hotel residents and local people.”