ASYLUM seekers are set to start arriving in Hereford today (March 13).

Up to 120 people will be being housed at Hereford's Three Counties Hotel after Home Office plans were revealed last month.

The Belmont Road Hotel closed to customers on Friday, with one local event organiser telling of her devastation after she was told the hotel could no longer host her event at very short notice.

When will they arrive?

It is not known at what time the arrivals will start, but Herefordshire Council chief executive Paul Walker confirmed last week that the Home Office is to move asylum seekers in from today.

Ledbury Reporter:

How long will they be staying?

At the moment, Herefordshire Council said it does not know how long the hotel will be used.

But it said the Home Office has signed a 12-month contract with the owners.

"People will move out as their applications for asylum are progressed," the council said.

"This means that the people staying in the hotel will change over time."

Why have asylum seekers been placed in the hotel?

The Home Office recently told Herefordshire Council that it intended to use the Three Counties Hotel as temporary accommodation for people awaiting the outcome of their asylum application.

This was said to be down to the number of boats that cross the English Channel continuing to rise.

"The use of hotels is happening across the country and not just in Herefordshire," the council said.

"This provision will be managed by a Home Office contractor called Serco."

Have we housed asylum seekers before?

It is by no means the first time that Hereford has welcomed refugees or asylum seekers.

A Herefordshire Council spokesperson said: "Herefordshire has a proud history of welcoming and supporting refugees and asylum seekers.

"Over the past year, we have seen the generous support extended to Ukrainian refugees and the compassion shown by local communities to those in need and it is hoped that asylum seekers coming to Herefordshire will receive the same warm welcome."

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How has the news been received?

The news has 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.

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.

Will there be security in place?

There will be 24-hour security in place at the Three Counties Hotel, it has been confirmed.

In February, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said housing asylum seekers in hotels is causing “understandable tensions” following ugly clashes between protesters.

What has the hotel said?

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

What does it mean to seek asylum?

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.

Meanwhile, there is no internationally accepted legal definition of a migrant, but it is generally accepted as a reference to someone staying outside their country of origin, who is not an asylum seeker or refugee.

Often, but not always, they are seeking better life prospects and are sometimes called economic migrants.