A PUBLIC meeting is being held today so people can raise questions, comments and issues about the Three Counties Hotel being used to house asylum seekers.

From Monday (March 13), the Home Office took over the hotel in Belmont Road, Hereford, to house up to 120 asylum seekers.

There is 24-hour security at the venue, which shut its doors to the public last Friday (March 10).

Now, Belmont Rural Parish Council is holding an extraordinary meeting where the public can comment on the hotel's new use, spearheaded by the Home Office.

"The only item being considered will be to accept members of public comment regarding the recent Three Counties Hotel, Belmont, Hereford, being used temporary accommodation for asylum seekers to the United Kingdom," the agenda said. 


The meeting will be held at the Left Bank Village, Bridger Street, at 7pm, and after "questions and comments" are raised, parish councillors can consider any issues raised.

Ward councillor Tracy Bowes said representatives from Herefordshire Council, West Mercia Police, MPs Jesse Norman and Bill Wiggin, the NHS, and Home Office contractor Serco have been invited.

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

A spokesperson said it never comments on operational matters and would not even say the name of the hotel being used.

Ledbury Reporter: A security car leaving the Three Counties Hotel, Belmont RoadA security car leaving the Three Counties Hotel, Belmont Road (Image: Rob Davies)

Since Monday afternoon, the curtains to windows on the Belmont Road side of the building had been drawn and police officers were also seen driving around the area on Tuesday, stopping the Hereford Times photographer and checking his details.

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

Ledbury Reporter:

The Three Counties Hotel has refused to speak to the Hereford Times, despite being contacted for comment, and the news has divided opinion in the county. It follows tensions in other parts of the country, including Knowsley in Liverpool, where protests turned violent, and North Herefordshire MP Bill Wiggin has spoken out against the plans.

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

The Rt Rev Richard Jackson said the conversations online, which have included racist comments and other hate speech, were "uncharitable, to say the least". He said he was not so naïve as to recognise this is a complex issue and there is no single or easy solution.


"I'm aware that we can't offer asylum to everyone, but we must not disregard our ethical responsibilities or ignore at will international law which protects the right to claim asylum," he said, adding the UK has a "rich history" of welcoming refugees.

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. It is a human right.

What are your thoughts?

You can send a letter to the editor to have your say by clicking here.

Letters should not exceed 250 words and local issues take precedence.