A three-metre gap has been left in the entrance to the four-star hotel to allow for access by customers and emergency services.
Residents are concerned at latest news that suggests a July 3 start for the Home Office project to use the hotel to house an expected 300 asylum seekers.
It is not clear who has ordered the block stone barrier and there is widespread local speculation that the access gap could be sealed off at any stage.
A spokesman for the Furnace Action Committee – the group formed after a public meeting to debate the asylum seekers plan – said that it was always likely that there would be random, independent acts to disrupt the plan.
He added: “As an action committee we are aware of the block stone barrier.
“It is our understanding that the hotel – and its owners, Sterling Woodrow, do not actually own the access forecourt to the hotel.
“There are issues with historic access, land registration, covenants and permissions which are being investigated by our legal teams.
“The arrival of a block stone barrier definitely highlights these issues to hotel owners Sterling Woodrow.
“From the point of view of the Furnace Action Committee, it may get them to see sense.
“Hopefully, they will not proceed with what we understand to be contract arrangement with Clearsprings, the company which acts as agents for the Home Office for asylum seeker accommodation throughout the UK.
“We have said previously that it is a barmy, half-baked scheme which will damage the community of Furnace and Llanelli and one which is not in the best interests of asylum seekers.”
Meanwhile, the Furnace Action Committee says it has seen email correspondence between Rob Horwood, the managing director of Sterling Woodrow and some Carmarthenshire County councillors.
In the email, Mr Horwood maintains that no contract currently exists between Sterling Woodrow and Clearsprings.
The Furnace Action committee was set up following a public meeting attended by nearly 400 people at the Selwyn Samuel Centre, on Sunday, 28 May. It held its first meeting on Thursday, 1 June. The committee is made up mainly of dozen local residents who volunteered their services at the public meeting.
Letter sent to Carmarthenshire Council by Rob Horwood, managing director of Sterling Woodrow, owners of the Stradey Park Hotel.
Thank you for your correspondence and your interest in the Stradey Park Hotel. We are very grateful for the support that Carmarthen Council offer.
We continue to operate as a hotel and take pride in our levels of service. We have not cancelled any wedding bookings.
You are right to identify that we are a major local employer and it is our intention to continue to be so.
One of a number of future options that have become open to us is engagement with Clearsprings Ready-Homes.
Our commitment that we have made absolutely no contractual agreements is extant; there is no ambiguity in this.
This is one option that we are looking at amongst others and it would be inappropriate for you to make any inference about our future intention other than our commitment to ensure that all statutory and mandatory standards are met and that our employees and residents continue to be looked after appropriately.
We do not recognise the suggestion around potential job losses.
Please engage with Clearsprings Ready-Homes around any issues pertaining to asylum seeking since this is their expertise and not ours.
(Lead image: Rob Lloyd)
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