ASYLUM seekers have been forced to leave a Herefordshire hotel

The Talbot Hotel in Leominster has unexpectedly closed, with its occupants having to vacate the premises on October 2.

The hotel was being used as “contingency accommodation” for asylum-seeking families, who moved in during the summer.

The Robert Owen Society, which works with asylum seekers in the county, said the hotel was closed by a structural engineer.


Kathy Bland of Refugee Response Leominster and Beyond said the communal area had been closed off for some time due to safety concerns. Occupants had reported cracks in the walls and a sinking floor, she said.

Mrs Bland added that there had been no warning about the closure and that the asylum seekers did not know where they were being sent when they were placed in taxis on Monday night.

Those living at the hotel had been getting involved with community projects including Leominster in Bloom and the repair café, she said, while a number of children had been enrolled in local schools.

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“It’s a shocking way to treat people,” she said.

“It’s probable that they shouldn’t have been in the Talbot in the first place, it needs to be thoroughly inspected.

“Our town and county stepped up to offer space and do the best they can so it’s really disappointing for everybody to have this as the end result.”

Chris Morgan and Amelia Washbourne of the Robert Owen Society said they were very concerned by the development.

“We have heard the rumours about the historic health and safety concerns,” they said.

“Yesterday in the Guardian ‘Asylum seekers with disabilities ‘abandoned’ in former Essex care home’, rang massive alarm bells along with the concerns surrounding the Bibby Stockholm.

“It all presents an extremely disturbing picture of an uncaring, non-compassionate and cruel government.”


A Herefordshire Council spokesperson said: "Since August, the Talbot Hotel in Leominster has been used by the Home Office as contingency accommodation for households seeking asylum, and operationally managed by Serco.  

"Herefordshire Council has been informed (on Monday, October 2) that due to operational issues, residents at the hotel are being relocated to other suitable accommodation outside of Herefordshire. 

"The Home Office makes the decision on which hotels are used as contingency accommodation and where they place those seeking asylum. It is their decision, working with their local provider, on whether a hotel is fit for purpose. 

"At this stage, we do not have any information on when the Talbot Hotel will become operational once more."

A spokesperson for the Home Office added: "We do not comment on specific commercial/operational arrangements for individual hotels."