Leader statement in response to Northeye petition – 25/09/23

The Leader of Rother District Council, Cllr Doug Oliver has made a statement following a petition calling on the council to oppose the Government’s Northeye Asylum Seeker Centre proposals.

Cllr Oliver, said: “We understand and share the concerns of local people about the potential impact on the community and local services if the Home Office uses Northeye to accommodate people seeking asylum.

“We’re particularly aware of the impact on those residents who live near the site, and we’ve been working with stakeholders to assess the potential impact on the local community and services. This has been a difficult task as the Home Office is still in the assessment stages – no decision has been made and there are still so many unanswered questions.

“What we do know is that the sale of the site has not yet been completed and survey work is still being undertaken. We also know that the Home Office is still considering either using the site as an open facility for up to 1,200 men or as a centre for detention purposes only.

“The Government needs to provide answers to many questions on its proposals. We don’t know if the site will be used as a detained or non-detained facility or even if it will be used at all. We don’t know how many people or who will be accommodated. We don’t know when work will begin on site, how long it will take and what kind of accommodation will be built.

“We also don’t know if we – as local planning authority – will be determining any future planning application about the site, how long the facility will be used for or what will happen to the site in the longer-term.

“In the last few weeks, we’ve seen greater engagement from the Home Office with local stakeholders; this is welcomed, and we’ll push for this to continue.

“Let me be very clear – we remain committed to seeking to ensure that any use of Northeye is lawful and acceptable and that the views of the local community are heard by all bodies responsible for making decisions about the site.”

You can find more information on our Northeye webpage

Published: 25th September 2023

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