CONCERNED residents have been asked to show patience and await an ‘exit strategy’ for asylum seekers in Bromsgrove – amid intimidation complaints from worried women in the area.

A number of residents contacted the Advertiser after we reported on Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage’s recent visit to Bromsgrove Hotel and Spa, where the asylum seekers are being housed.

Councillors and police say they are aware of the concerns and are working with Serco – the company accommodating around 150 refugees at the hotel – to communicate advice to the asylum seekers.

Catshill councillor Shirley Webb told the Advertiser she had received a number of complaints from residents in recent months – but added the message seemed to be getting across to the newcomers.

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“It’s a very sensitive issue and all we can do is support the residents and go to the relevant people with their concerns,” Cllr Webb said.

“I’ve reported these matters to Serco and to the local police. The police are making periodic visits to the hotel to discuss what the residents have been talking about.

“We are waiting for an exit strategy from Serco because this is only a temporary operation.

“It is getting a bit quieter and the complaints are dying down, hopefully because Serco are talking to the asylum seekers about respecting social distancing and about what is and what isn’t acceptable.”

Joanne Barnes is one of the residents who has contacted Cllr Webb and says gangs of men have left her apprehensive.

“These groups of men who walk past my house daily and stare uncomfortably at my seven-year-old daughter and myself,” she said.

“It has made me very nervous about my daughter’s future here and I would not under any circumstances allow her to go out with friends or on her own when she is a little bit older.

“I also know that other friends with young daughters in the village have experienced uncomfortable interactions with these groups of men.”

Another resident, Catherine Atkins, added: “They are often seen drinking in the park just down the road from the hotel and leave broken glass and cans behind.

“One of my friends will no longer walk around her street alone following a group of these men wolf whistling at her and making her feel uneasy.

“I have three young children, two of which are due to return to the school just along the road from the hotel and I will be worried about the safety of the school.

“It is apparent that we know nothing about these 147 men and are housing them here in our small village which I previously considered a very safe area to live.”

Chief Inspector Edward Hancox reiterated West Mercia Police’s commitment to aiding harmony between the newcomers and the community.

He said: “We are working with local partners and the Home Office to ensure the impact on the local community continues to be managed sensitively and my officers will be provide visible reassurance and support in the area.

“We will deal with any issues in the community as we would normally do to ensure everyone stays safe during these challenging times.”