Hotelier Gauhar Nawab owns a network of hotels worth £325m, reports Josh Mellor, Local Democracy Reporter
The Walthamstow hotel hundreds of migrants are being abruptly evicted from this week is owned by a hotelier family with a multi-million-pound empire.
Gauhar Nawab, 83, bought the buildings, which formerly housed an Ibis Styles, for £30million in 2021.
Through his company London Hotel Group, Nawab owns a £325m network of hotels, including some carrying the Best Western brand.
Soon after he bought the former Ibis Styles, the buildings – now called “london walthamstow hotel” became a site for housing asylum seekers whose applications are being processed by the Home Office.
Last week, the Home Office’s accommodation contractor Clearsprings Ready Homes abruptly told about 400 asylum seekers at the hotel they would have to move as far away as Somerset.
With a few days’ notice, guests have been told they will need to move and are only “entitled” to bring two bags each.
One woman told the Echo that she was “really disappointed and upset” when she learned her family would be moved 191 miles away to Bridgwater, Somerset.
The decision, which is part of the government’s drive to cut the £8.2million-a-day cost of hotels for asylum seekers, has drawn criticism from some locals and council leader Grace Williams.
Cllr Williams said removing people at short notice has caused “a huge amount of hassle and stress” for people who need support.
Gauhar Nawab, who owns the hotel buildings through his company London Walthamstow Ltd, was first publicly linked to hotels housing asylum seekers ten years ago.
Company accounts covering January to December last year do not declare any profit and suggest the buildings are now worth about £28m.
The hotelier has not responded to requests for comment from the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).
Land Registry records suggest he bought the hotel buildings from the British Arab Commercial Bank in 2021.
According to public records on Companies House, Nawab is a director of 31 businesses, many of which appear to be linked to individual London hotels.
A spokesperson for Clearsprings Ready Homes – whose profits doubled to £62m last year – said: “We take the welfare of those we accommodate during their asylum process, very seriously.”
A Home Office spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.