Fringe Box



Sutton Place Could Be Used for Ukrainian Refugees if Legal Obstacles Are Surmounted

Published on: 13 Mar, 2022
Updated on: 13 Mar, 2022

Ukrainian refugees Wikimedia

By Martin Giles

Michael Gove MP

Sutton Place, owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov, might be used for humanitarian purposes if the government can surmount legal obstacles. The 16th-century mansion lies just three miles from Guildford near Jacobs Well.

But Michael Gove the MP for Surrey Heath and government minister, given responsibility for housing Ukrainian refugees, warned today (March 13) on the BBC’s Sunday Morning that there would be “quite a high legal bar” to authorise such action and said it would not mean “permanent confiscation” but would lapse with the end of sanctions.

Sutton Place Image Wikimedia

A Dragon reader, who does not wish to be named, suggested the idea on Tuesday (March 8). (See: Ukrainian Flag Flies Over Guildford While Resident Suggests Oligarch’s Pile is Used for Refugees). Guildford’s MP said: “While Sutton Place is not in Guildford constituency, I am always happy to work with neighbouring Members of Parliament.”

And the deputy leader of Guildford Borough Council Julia McShane (Lib Dem, Westborough) said that it was awaiting details of a scheme that would allow the council to sponsor refugees from Ukraine and facilitate their entry.

A government website that will allow individuals to register offers of accommodation is expected to “go live” tomorrow. Those hosting the refugees are to receive £350 a month.

Surrey County Council Statement

Cllr Helyn Clack

In an issued statement, Surrey County Council chairman, Cllr Helyn Clack, commenting on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, said:  “Like all Surrey residents, I have been shocked and dismayed by what we have seen in Ukraine as a result of Russia’s invasion, in particular the horrific and barbaric attacks on civilian areas such as hospitals and schools.

“I have been overwhelmed by the response from Surrey residents, with many communities yet again pulling together in a time of crisis and need to collect donations and supplies for the people of Ukraine. It is this spirit which shines through in times of great adversity.

“As a sign of our support and solidarity with the people of Ukraine, we are flying the country’s flag at our headquarters in Reigate. We are also working closely with the UK Government and today (March 11) have attended a meeting with senior officials to look at practical ways we can offer support to refugees. This information is now available on our website at

“I have also been touched by the many residents who have offered to accommodate Ukrainian refugees and we will be working with the Home Office to do all we can to facilitate this. I know residents will want to know how they can do more and I would encourage any who wish to contribute to do so via the British Red Cross’ Disaster Emergency Committee Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal in the first instance. We are also seeking further detail from local charity and community groups, as well as the districts and boroughs to see how our residents can help further.

“In the meantime, all our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Ukraine at this awful time, and we hope that this invasion is reversed quickly.”

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Responses to Sutton Place Could Be Used for Ukrainian Refugees if Legal Obstacles Are Surmounted

  1. Jill Howard Reply

    March 14, 2022 at 9:55 am

    Very informative, thanks. I am disgusted with Priti Patel misleading us all at a time of crisis like this. She should be dismissed.

    Anyhow, I am offering a fully furnished flat in Wonersh and hope that I can be a “welcomer” soon.

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