ALL the asylum seekers being housed at Hereford's Three Counties Hotel will be men, Herefordshire Council has said.

The council initially tried to downplay rumours that those being housed at the Belmont Road hotel would all be men, saying most asylum seekers were not men.

It said that sometimes, women and children would be left in refugee camps in neighbouring countries while the men left to take the risky, and often deadly, trip to another country.


This cuts the risk that women and children would suffer sexual abuse, violence and exploitation by traffickers and gangs, later following the men had applied for asylum.

But this week, Herefordshire Council said it was anticipated that all arrivals to the hotel would be adult males.

"This is based on need and pressures in the asylum system," the council said, with arrangements organised by the Home Office.

The hotel has closed to the public after the 12-month agreement was signed with the Home Office, and the venue is now being run by contractor Serco. Security 24 hours a day is part of that agreement "for the safety and security of those staying and working there and for the property", the council said.

Hereford Times:

It was initially said up to 120 asylum seekers would be housed there, but no update has been given on the numbers, and those staying there are "free to come and go", the council said.

It added they are "expected to live in their assigned accommodation while their application is being processed" and cannot work, unless in special circumstances when an application has taken more than 12 months to process.

The asylum seekers at the hotel, which has been taken over "due to the number of boats that cross the English Channel continuing to rise", will also be given a range of essential items, including toiletries. Meals are provided at the hotel and asylum seekers will receive £9.10 per week but not mobile phones.

The plans have been controversial and divided opinion in the county following tensions in other parts of the country, including Knowsley in Liverpool, where protests turned violent.


North Herefordshire MP Bill Wiggin has spoken out against the plans, saying Herefordshire does not have a council robust enough to support these extra people with their wide variety of needs.

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, who are exercising their legal right to seek protection from persecution and serious human rights violations in another country.

All the people living at the hotel will be registered as patients at Hereford Medical Group where they will access appointments in the same way as everyone else. Some limited extra funding has been made available for the group.

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