Guernsey Press

Asylum seekers to be housed on former prison site under Government plans

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick would describe it only as a ‘separate site’.


More than 1,000 asylum seekers will be housed at a former prison site under Government plans to provide them with only the most basic accommodation.

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick announced on Wednesday that two former military bases would be used along with a “separate site in East Sussex”.

The Home Office did not give any more details but the PA news agency can reveal the location is the grounds of what was Northeye prison in Bexhill until it was shut down in 1992.

The site went on to be used as a training site for individuals from the United Arab Emirates until its closure around four years ago.

The transport minister said: “I know that this decision will have an impact on local authorities and public services. It will also be of great concern to local residents.”

Councils in Essex and Lincolnshire are considering legal action over plans to use the former RAF bases Wethersfield and Scampton.

Mr Jenrick announced intentions to house “several thousands” of asylum seekers at the sites through “repurposed barrack blocks and portacabins” to reduce the reliance on expensive hotels.

“Accommodation for migrants should meet their essential living needs and nothing more because we cannot risk becoming a magnet for the millions of people who are displaced and seeking better economic prospects,” he told MPs.

The Northeye site is expected to need a considerable amount of work to make it suitable.

Describing it as a “non-military site”, the Home Office said it would be used to house up to 1,200 people.

A joint statement from East Sussex County Council and Rother District Council said: “People in our communities are likely to have many questions about the Government’s plans to house asylum seekers at the Northeye site in Bexhill, a former prison and military training centre.

“Rother District Council and East Sussex County Council will work together, and with all our local partners, to understand and assess in more detail the impact this would have on local communities.

“We will also share this analysis with the Government and work with them to ensure the Home Office addresses all issues identified.”

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