Deputy Prime Minister gives planning permission for asylum accommodation centre - Refugee Council
August 19, 2003

Deputy Prime Minister gives planning permission for asylum accommodation centre

In response to today’s announcement that planning permission has been given for an accommodation centre in Bicester, Anna Reisenberger, Director of Development at the Refugee Council said:

“We have grave concerns over the Government’s proposals which we have expressed from the outset. Accommodation centres such as that being piloted in Bicester will be very large, away from urban centres and expensive to set up and maintain.

“Accommodating asylum seekers in this way is highly problematic. Similar experiences elsewhere in Europe show that asylum seekers become very isolated and institutionalised. Those that are given leave to stay also have great difficulty integrating.

“The Refugee Council has put forward an alternative approach called a ‘core and cluster’ model that would be much smaller and community-based. We believe this model would meet all the Home Office’s objectives, will be better value for money and will lead to a better managed decision-making process.

“We are talking to ministers and officials and look forward to continuing to work positively with the Home Office. We must ensure that when the long-term strategy is finally agreed it is in the best interests of a more effective asylum system.”

Ends

Notes for editors & further information:

1. Read the Home Office’s response to the announcement on the Home Office website

2. Read Cherwell District Council’s response to the announcement

For further information contact press office: Jean Candler/Hannah Ward 020 7820 3057/020 7840 4404 (Switchboard: 0207 820 3000). For urgent or out of hours inquiries ring 0870 0555500 & ask for pager 865169.

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