The Executive summary of the Campaign’s objection is given below. For the full document see CCC expansion submission
For the purposes of this paper, the issues discussed will be limited to those raised by planning application 14/01178/F, and which are relevant to a planning decision. Since the “Needs Case” which forms part of the application argues that the supposed need to increase immigration detention capacity in the UK constitutes Very Special Circumstances for building on the Green Belt, this
necessarily includes a discussion as to whether this “Needs Case” is credible.
2.0 Executive Summary
2.1 The general grounds given within the application for building within the Green Belt do not apply in this case, and the application is not in accordance with the Local Plan. Because of the controversial nature of immigration detention, and the impact on the reputation of the area, it may also hinder the aims of the Local Plan.
2.2 There is no “Need” for additional bed spaces in the detention estate and therefore no Very Special Circumstances which could justify building within Green Belt land. The “Needs Case” supplied in Appendix D and supported in other parts of the Planning Statement is not supported from evidence. While there is no precedent for Home Office policy on detention constituting a “Need” to build on Green Belt land, there is also a strong case against an existing Need using the Home Office’s own published statistics. There is also a likelihood that Home Office policy, which forms the basis of the “Needs Case”, will change in the near future. Judging by existing use of detention, additional bed spaces are also likely to be used for unlawful purposes, which cannot constitute a Need. We also provide specific arguments against many of the assertions made in the
“Needs Case”. Many of the assertions made are flawed, some are erroneous or contradictory, and almost all are controversial and politically contested. Overall, the “Needs Case” is not sufficiently reliable to provide VSC for building within Green Belt land. No Need has been established, and there is a strong prima facie case that there is no Need. We expect that the decision of the Planning Authority will make this clear, as well as refusing the application on other grounds.
2.3 The Home Office has not made sufficient efforts to explore alternative sites. It is likely that alternative sites are available and could be utilised. The criteria used to find the best site have clearly been designed to support a development at Campsfield.
2.4 The design of the building suggests it will not be used in accordance with the assurances given in the application.
2.5 The new buildings would constitute a visual intrusion into the open countryside, particularly due to the height of the main block, which the application is deemed to lack viability without.
2.6 The impact of the development on foul drainage could have an extremely adverse impact on residents of Evenlode Crescent and the assurances given, without offering any means of achieving them, are not adequate.
2.7 The development would result in significant additional traffic during peak time in the early evening, and likely additional traffic due to wrong turns in the residential part of Evenlode Crescent, especially during the construction phase when staff and visitors would want to avoid being held up by construction traffic.
2.8 The proposed development would change the character of Campsfield House, making it one of the three largest immigration detention centres in Europe. Security incidents would increase, since most protests and riots in detention are linked to the fact of detention rather than facilities. The
centre would attract more and bigger protests both inside and outside of detention, with noise and disruption causing an adverse impact on local residents.
2.9 For all the above reasons, the application should be refused.