As part of the national day of solidarity with detained people and against detention centres on Saturday 7 May, when campaign groups will demonstrate at detention centres around England and Scotland, there will be an extra demo at Campsfield main gates from 12 noon to 2pm.
How to get there.
See the facebook event
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’. Continue reading
CGMS consultants, acting for the Home Office and Ministry of Justice, have now written to Cherwell District Council formally withdrawing the planning application to expand Campsfield.
Bill MacKeith, spokesperson for the Campaign to Close Campsfield said:
“This is a great victory. But the new government in May must implement the recommendations of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Immigration Detention: a 28-day time limit to detention and full judicial oversight of individual decisions to detain. This would be a further step forward and entail some closures of detention centres. Above all, this is a chance to point to the need for the end of the barbaric imprisonment every year of 30,000 innocent people under 1971 Immigration Act powers. Close Campsfield. Close all immigration detention centres.”
Carol Day at Leigh Day, solicitors acting for Stop Campsfield Expansion who wrote the 7-page letter to Cherwell Council that prompted the postponement of consideration of the application and then its withdrawal, said:
“This is the right decision and very good news. The approach being taken by Cherwell Borough Council was clearly wrong in law. The onus was on the Home Office to prove that very special circumstances to justify this inappropriate development in the Green Belt were established. The information before the Council completely failed to make the case.”
Campaign to Close Campsfield: Bill 01865 558145, Liz 07791 738 577, Tim 07721 771 835, Gill 01993 703994
Leigh Day: David Standard, Head of Media Relations 01949 850246 07540 332717 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Campsfield expansion planning application will NOT now be considered at the next Cherwell District Council planning meeting.
It is expected that the application won’t be considered until after the general election. It’s possible that it could go to the planning meeting due to be held on Thursday 21 May.
Updates to follow when possible.
See also http://www.asylum-welcome.org/index.php/campsfield for the full list of organisations supporting the Stop Campsfield Expansion coalition.
STOP CAMPSFIELD EXPANSION PRESS RELEASE
19/02/15 – immediate use
DECISION ON CAMPSFIELD EXPANSION DEFERRED AS CAMPAIGNERS CRITICISE “FLAWED” OFFICERS’ REPORT
Cherwell District Councillors today voted to defer an application to more than double the size of Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre, due to late receipt of a legal letter by Leigh Day solicitors, representing members of the Stop Campsfield Expansion group.
The letter stated that the approach in the Officer’s Committee Report, prepared by Cherwell District Council and which made recommendations followed by elected Planning Committee Members, “is plainly wrong in law”. The Officer’s Committee Report advised Councillors not to consider relevant evidence, falsely suggested that Planning Matters such as the standard of accommodation were not actually planning matters, and encouraged them to accept Home Office policy statements blindly without the need for evidence.
Campaigners said this vindicated their approach: “This backs up what we’ve been saying from the beginning, that Councillors must consider all the evidence and make up their own minds whether there is a need to detain more migrants,” said Bill MacKeith of the Campaign to Close Campsfield. “Since the Home Office’s own figures confirm that they are releasing more and more detainees without taking further action against them, people who they should never have locked up in the first place, we are confident Councillors will eventually decide that there is no “Need”.”
At a lobby called by Oxford Trades Union Council outside the council offices in Bodicote, Banbury, 40-50 people heard speeches from members of the Movement for Justice; Maurice Wren, head of the Refugee Council of England and Wales; and parliamentary candidates Sally Copley and Larry Sanders from the Labour and Green parties respectively.
The next Cherwell planning committee meeting is on 19 March.
For more information, contact Bill MacKeith on 01865 558 145 or Liz
Peretz on 07791738577
PRESS RELEASE – for immediate use 18 February 2015
Cherwell Planning Committee meet on Thursday 19 February to decide on the Home Office/Ministry of Justice application to double the size of Campsfield immigration detention centre near Kidlington.
Today, lawyers for campaigners objecting to the plan have written to the Council. In their opinion, the report of the Planning Officer which recommends approval of the application, is wrong in law and ‘the Developer simply and clearly fails to discharge its burden of proof.’ Continue reading
The Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, said overall this report was a ‘very positive’ inspection. The report makes 84 recommendations for necessary improvements to meet an acceptable standard. ‘How inadequate does a detention centre regime have to be to qualify as inadequate or poor?’ asks Close Campsfield Campaign spokesperson Bill MacKeith.
Overall, the report reveals a catalogue of errors and inadequacies, prominent among which are inadequate health facilities, overcrowding and the detention (against government ‘guidelines’) of sick people and victims of torture, the Home Office riding roughshod over doctors’ ‘Rule 35’ health screening recommendations that detained individuals should be released. Continue reading