Locals Fight Asylum Dump Plan

The people of a small Cumbria town in the grips of a housing shortage are stepping up their fight to stop a greedy corporation making big profits from turning the place into an asylum dump.  

Eight properties in the seaside town of Millom - where a terraced house can be bought for below £100,000 -  are set to be converted into Houses Of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs). This follows the announcement that the Government has drastically lowered the safety standards needed for HMO use.

Under the plans, the homes will be used to put up around 40 illegal and unvetted new immigrants, with developers BH Property Investments and leading asylum accommodation providers Serco in line for annual returns of up to 15% on their investment.

The proposals are opposed by the local council and mayor as well as many local residents on the basis there is already a shortage of homes and infrastructure for existing residents. 

Angry locals say there isn't the infrastructure to house asylum seekers, with the local police station shut down and public services stretched to the brink.

Opponents of the developments say no one was consulted as properties were bought up en masse by developers who then sought lucrative Government-backed contracts to redevelop them.

They point out that residents already struggle to book GP appointments, there are no dentists, the nearest fully manned police station is 45 minutes away in Whitehaven, hospitals are at least 40 minutes away and 112 local families are on the waiting list for rented accommodation.

Residents held a packed public meeting and formed a group called Millom Community Action Group to oppose the scheme.

Already, though, the refusal of the asylum-profiteers to back down has led to more radical action. In moves similar to those seen in various parts of Ireland faced with the same threat, anti-asylum graffiti has appeared on houses earmarked for conversion, bricks are being hurled through windows in some properties and builders have found tyres slashed on their vans.

The government and big companies like Serco have a long record of riding roughshod over peaceful protests, so if things escalate further, they only have themselves to blame.

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