THE Home Office has refused to say whether the first asylum seekers have arrived at the Three Counties Hotel in Hereford.

When asked by the Hereford Times on Monday when the first of up to 120 asylum seekers to be housed there would arrive, the Home Office said it wouldn't comment.

A spokesperson said it never comments on operational matters and wouldn't even confirm the name of the hotel being used.


That is despite Herefordshire Council confirming the news last week and it said the hotel would be used from Monday (March 13).

On Tuesday morning, the curtains to windows on the Belmont Road side of the building had been drawn.

Hereford Times:

And there appeared to be two people, possibly security guards, sat inside the entrance, with Herefordshire Council saying there would be 24-hour security.

Police officers were also seen driving around the area.

The hotel has signed a 12-month deal with the Home Office, with the government picking the properties used. There are currently no plans for other hotels in Herefordshire to be used, the council said.

Hereford Times:

The Three Counties Hotel has refused to speak to the Hereford Times, despite being contacted for comment.

The news has divided opinion in the county following tensions in other parts of the country, including Knowsley in Liverpool, where protests turned violent.

Hereford Times: The Three Counties Hotel in Hereford has been taken over by the Home Office to house asylum seekers The Three Counties Hotel in Hereford has been taken over by the Home Office to house asylum seekers (Image: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)

North Herefordshire MP Bill Wiggin has spoken out against the plans.

But many have spoken out in support of the plan, with the Bishop of Hereford calling out "deeply disturbing" comments being made about asylum seekers.


Plenty of locals have also written into the Hereford Times to voice their support.

According to Amnesty International, an asylum seeker is a person who has left their country and is seeking protection from persecution and serious human rights violations in another country.

But, they haven’t yet been legally recognised as a refugee and is waiting to receive a decision on their asylum claim.

Seeking asylum is a human right. A refugee is a person who has fled their own country because they are at risk of serious human rights violations and persecution there. Refugees have a right to international protection.