Home » Braintree Council Considers Legal Action Over Raf Base Migrants
Europe Refugees UK United Kingdom

Braintree Council Considers Legal Action Over Raf Base Migrants

Local planners said they were considering legal action against the Home Office overs its plans to house asylum seekers at a former RAF base.

Braintree District Council said it was approached by the government to discuss using Wethersfield in Essex.

At Monday’s full council meeting, leader Graham Butland said the council would seek an injunction “if it becomes necessary and appropriate to do so”.

The Home Office said it was looking at a “range of accommodation options”.

Mr Butland, in charge of the Conservative-run local authority, said: “The council has provided the Home Office with our strong view that we believe Wethersfield airfield to be an unsuitable site, given the lack of capacity in local services, its isolated location, the size of the site and the fact that the scale of the development proposed could have a significant adverse impact upon the local community.”

The council said it understood the site would be used to provide accommodation for asylum seekers while their claims were being processed and would not be used as a detention centre.

It said it was seeking more information from the government after new fencing was put up at the Wethersfield site and trees were felled.

Residents have also raised concerns about using the site, saying it was “inappropriate”.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, the Conservative MP for Braintree, has also voiced his concerns.

On Facebook, he said he had spoken to Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick and highlighted the “remote nature of the site, the limited transport infrastructure and narrow road network and that these factors would mean the site wasn’t appropriate for asylum accommodation”.

A Home Office spokesman said: “We continue to work across government and with local authorities to identify a range of accommodation options.

“The government remains committed to engaging with local authorities and key stakeholders as part of this process.”

Earlier this month, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said the asylum system costs the British tax payer £3bn a year, with £6m being spent each day to accommodate people in hotels.

Wethersfield was loaned by the RAF to the United States Army Air Forces during World War Two and the Cold War.

There is no longer an RAF presence, but it is used as a Ministry of Defence Police base (MDP) for various activities, including training exercises.

In 2021, the Ministry of Justice proposed building two prisons on the land – housing 3,400 male inmates – but it has not yet submitted a planning application for the project.

The airfield is not served by a bus route and is roughly 10 miles from the nearest railway station, in Braintree.

Source : BBC