A PAUSE on licences to accommodate asylum seekers in houses of multiple occupation in a Cumbrian town has been officially made permanent, according to the Home Office.

This decision comes after a public meeting in Millom followed weeks of backlash to plans to accommodate asylum seekers in HMOs.

At the meeting, the MP for Copeland Trudy Harrison, revealed there is to be a permanent ban on licensing such properties in Millom for that use.

In a letter sent to Cumberland Council on February 23, the Home Office confirmed that it has decided to 'stand down all properties currently within the pipeline in Millom.'

It read: "We have instructed Serco as per the above and will ensure no further properties for dispersal accommodation will be added to Serco's pipeline in Millom at this time."

The decision was taken following information provided by the Cumberland Council and Cumbria Police.

In a Community Impact Assessment sent by Whitehaven Police to the Home Office, supplementary evidence was given to support their view that Millom was 'not an appropriate dispersal area.'

The Home Office statement added: "The behaviour and actions from some of the local community in Millom is unacceptable and it is regrettable that the Home Office has had to come to this decision under these circumstances."

READ MORE: Ban on HMOs for asylum seekers 'to be made permanent' after backlash in town

Following the Home Office's decision, Mrs Harrison said she was 'pleased' that 'common sense prevailed.'

She said: "I am also grateful for the swift initial pause and ultimate confirmation that Millom will not be considered for Government leases for HMOs for asylum dispersal purposes.

"This reflects the collaborative and collective responses from the community, Millom Town Council, Cumberland Council and Cumbria Police. Thankfully, due to local interventions, the vast majority of the property sales have been averted.

"I am now working with the community to consider a locally owned housing trust whilst also supporting the £28 million Towns Fund programme and applying pressure to the NDA to accelerate the Library transformation. Millom is a stunning little town which has huge scope for improvement and I do feel that recent weeks have galvanised a more positive community spirit."

This follows opposition in the town to housing the asylum seekers with homes thought to be involved in the scheme targeted by vandals and graffiti saying 'not welcome scum'.

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

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