A PAUSE on licences to accommodate asylum seekers in house shares in a Cumbria town is expected to be made permanent.

Scores of residents turned out for a public meeting in Millom following a backlash to plans to house asylum seekers in homes of multiple occupation.

It was believed up to 40 asylum seekers were to be housed in homes bought up by developers to be turned into HMOs.

But the area's MP has now revealed there is to be a permanent ban on licensing such properties in Millom for that use.

It follows opposition in the town to housing the asylum seekers with homes thought to be involved in the scheme targeted by vandals and graffitied with slogans including 'not welcome scum'.

Cumbria Police said they increased patrols in the area following several reported incidents.

MP Trudy Harrison, members of Millom Town Council and residents all expressed fears over the potential access to public services for asylum seekers in the town as well as the availability of housing for locals.

They also expressed concern about not being consulted over proposals.

A Facebook group discussing the potential plans has attracted nearly 2,000 members.

Residents turned out for a public meeting at Millom Palladium on Thursday night where they had the chance to ask questions of community leaders.

The Mail:

Mrs Harrison, the Conservative MP for Copeland, said a high turnout on the night showed the 'strength of feeling' among residents on the issue.

Announcing the permanent ban on licences, she said: "I was pleased we got a nigh on immediate pause and I'm pleased that I think that will become a permanent solution."

She added: "With regards to Millom I've always taken a zero tolerance approach to HMOs for asylum seekers given the distance we are - 23 miles from Barrow, 32 miles from Whitehaven, 40 miles probably to Workington.

"We are a long way from other large service towns, we have a long distance from our police stations, we are an isolated town.

"I agree that consultation should've taken place but if it had have taken place I would've given exactly the same response."

She said the Home Office was due to confirm the permanent ban by the end of Friday.

Hotels used by the Government to provide safe havens for those seeking asylum are being closed with residents due to be moved into other accommodation, including dispersal housing.