Kidlington Parish Council votes that Campsfield must close

PRESS RELEASE 10 April 2015

At its meeting on Thursday 9 April, Kidlington parish council’s policy-making Policy and Finance Committee voted that the controversial nearby Campsfield immigration detention centre should close. It reiterated its opposition also to any expansion, and stated that ‘the provision of large scale immigration detention facilities does not accord with the UNHCR guidelines on the use of detention only as a last resort, but rather as a deterrent for those seeking refuge. We are concerned about the impact on many of the detainees of prolonged detention, and call on the centre to be closed’.

The motion, moved by outgoing member Mr Andrew Hornsby-Smith, was carried by all those present at the meeting covering all three main political parties. Full text:

‘This Council recognises that the provision of large scale immigration detention facilities does not accord with the UNHCR guidelines on the use of detention only as a last resort, but rather as a deterrant for those seeking refuge. We are concerned about the impact on many of the detainees of prolonged detention, and call on the centre to be closed.

‘Campsfield House occupies an important part of green belt land. Areas adjacent to it have become redeveloped in recent years. Campsfield House is increasingly inconsistent with the land uses of neighbouring areas. In 2008 the Council put forward a proposal to redevelop the site, which would have met part of the acute local housing need, delivered planning gain by removing unsightly fencing and waste land, and provided a more open mixed use redevelopment with more recreational space on what is a previously developed site.

‘The Council will continue to support proposals for a change of land use that is more consistent with our vision of meeting local housing and employment needs, and will pursue a suitable such redevelopment. We do not support the existing use or intensification of the existing use of the site.’

The vote follows the government’s withdrawal of its planning application to Cherwell Council to double the size of Campsfield, publication of the reforming report of the parliamentary Inquiry into the Use of Immigration Detention, the announcement that Haslar detention centre near Portsmouth is to close, and the statement by shadow home secretary that Labour would impose a time limit to detention.

Contacts: Bill 01865 558145, Liz 07791 738 577, Gill 01993 703994

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