Herefordshire Council is making concerted efforts to reopen the Talbot Hotel in Leominster, which was previously used to house asylum-seeking families but has been declared unsafe. The hotel stopped housing families earlier this month due to “operational issues,” and local authorities are keen to resolve these matters so that the families can return.
Local MP Sir Bill Wiggin had initially voiced opposition to the families being placed in the Talbot Hotel, which began accommodating an undisclosed number of them in August. Despite this, the local community has shown strong support for the families. Paul Walker, the chief executive of Herefordshire Council, confirmed that the hotel is currently unoccupied. “The local community has welcomed families to Leominster and has been incredibly supportive and sensitive to their needs,” he said during a county council meeting on October 13.
Paul Walker further stated, “Everyone involved is keen for those families who were originally placed at the Talbot to return to Leominster once the hotel is operational again, and we’re doing all we can through the Home Office and Serco with the support of the local community to ensure that happens.” He clarified that the decision to reopen would ultimately be in the hands of the Home Office, in collaboration with their local provider Serco.
Roger Phillips, Chairman of Herefordshire Council, also mentioned concerns about the children who had been attending local schools before being relocated.
“Hopefully they’ll come back,” he said. The families have been moved to various locations, with some taken as far away as Crewe and Grantham, according to local partners.
The Gazette reported the debate over the Government’s migrant policy in March where the county’s two MPs - Jesse Norman and Sir Bill Wiggin - expressed their opposition to the imminent use of the Three Counties Hotel in Hereford to house asylum seekers.