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Mother was left worried after seeing families displaced ahead of Beyonce's concerts

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

Nicole with her daughter pictured in front of Travelodge Enfield. Credit: Olivia Opara

A mother of one shares her experience witnessing other homeless families being moved from an Enfield hotel to make way for bookings on Beyonce’s concert dates in Tottenham.

Last Tuesday (May 23rd), the Guardian broke the news that up to 30 families housed in a Travelodge in Enfield were faced with removal to make way for those who have booked their rooms ahead of Beyonce’s concerts in Tottenham this week.

At the time, approximately two-thirds of the hotel was booked by the Enfield Council and occupied by homeless families and individuals – some of whom live with four or five people in one room.

Nicole Bent, a mother of a three-year-old daughter who has been living in the hotel for over two months, found the whole ordeal worrisome and apprehensive. According to Nicole, all the families did not find out about the move from the council but from another guest who also lives in the hotel.

“[This guest] has been here for eight months with his family and due to having knowledge from a similar experience he has been through, he warned us that if we did not get the council to extend our bookings we would have to go somewhere else,” said Niciole.

“So people were frantically calling their caseworkers to see if they are going to be getting an extension.”

The bookings made by Enfield council, regardless of how long the families had been staying at the hotel, would be extended every three weeks – with the families not knowing where they would be or if they are keeping their current room until they are notified.

“But the likelihood of that happening is really low,” said Nicole.

“[However], with the concerts coming up it was a really apprehensive time because other people were not getting their extensions and I wasn’t getting one either and there was a bank holiday so it was a bit concerning because if [Enfield council] doesn’t make an extension soon where will we be,” she added.

Throughout the weekend, Nicole witnessed many families being moved to hotels outside of the surrounding area – with some even moved outside of London as most hotels are all booked up.

Luckily for Nicole, she was able to stay at the hotel after appealing against a flat that she was offered last week by the council which she found to be mould-ridden.

“The flat was repainted and everything was done new but as soon as I walked in, I could tell that something was wrong right away,” said Nicole.

As a mother, Nicole is worried about the impact this whole ordeal has had on her daughter as well as the other children who live in the hotel.

“My child, even though she’s three, is obviously quite aware of the fact that she doesn’t have a home,” said Nicole.

“Some kids are not going to school, they don’t have their [usual] structure with bedtimes increasing, so they're doing mischievous things, obviously impacting other guests.”

Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium hosted its first series of concerts in the summer of 2022 – with Guns N’ Roses and Lady Gaga performing back-to-back nights. Almost 200,000 fans attended across their shows but this year 250,000 fans alone are attending Beyonce’s five conert nights – an additional 50,000 than last year.

With Beyonce touring in Tottenham and additional concerts set for the rest of the year, like WizKid, there is potential for concert attendees to increase – as seen this week. Similarly, the allure of the area has increased with big name stars and celebrities having been spotted attending Beyonce’s concert such as her husband, Jay Z, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kris and Kylie Jenner and Justin Beiber.

This also raises the question of whether homeless families living in surrounding hotels will experience being displaced to make room for future concert attendees as those who were last week.

For Nicole, this whole experience came with a lot of nuances in regards to the council’s response.

“Obviously, within the council, a lot of people feel that they could help more, or they could do more. Obviously, they are also overloaded with so many different people as well,” said Nicole.

Following this, Enfield council and local MPs have written a joint letter sent on May 24th to Secretary of State, Michael Gove, to lobby the government to help homeless families living in hotels.

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