Row over asylum centre plans

8 Aug 02
The Home Office has challenged the attempts of two local authorities to stop the building of controversial accommodation centres for asylum seekers.

09 August 2002

Rushcliffe Borough Council and Cherwell District Council have objected to government plans to build the centres on surplus military land near Bicester in Oxfordshire and at RAF Newton, Nottinghamshire. The planning application for a third centre at Throckmorton Airfield, Worcestershire, will be submitted later this year.

But now the Home Office has appealed against the councils' refusal of planning permission. The government offices for the Southeast and the East Midlands will have to decide whether to hold non-statutory public inquiries to resolve the disputes. Inspectors will then make recommendations to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who will take the final decision.

Immigration minister Beverley Hughes said: 'I believe that there is a great deal of misunderstanding locally about accommodation centres. Rather than a detriment, I believe that they can be an asset to local communities.

'The planning process is open, public and accountable and we look forward to being able to address the concerns of local authorities and local people.'

The appeal process is expected to take around six months.


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