Asylum seeker centre plan rejected

By Danielle NuttallA COUNCIL voted last night against siting a new induction centre in Ipswich, catering for thousands of asylum seekers every year.The town was identified by the Home Office as a possible area in the eastern region that could provide accommodation for 2,600 asylum seekers a year.

By Danielle Nuttall

A COUNCIL voted last night against siting a new induction centre in Ipswich, catering for thousands of asylum seekers every year.

The town was identified by the Home Office as a possible area in the eastern region that could provide accommodation for 2,600 asylum seekers a year.

But members of Ipswich Borough Council's executive committee decided last night not to put forward a proposal to the Home Office for an induction centre, claiming it would place an even greater strain on housing in the town.


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Ipswich has already been designated as a cluster area to receive asylum seekers because of its proximity to the ports of Harwich and Felixstowe and currently offers about 580 places.

Speaking at the meeting, council leader Peter Gardiner said: “This in itself has presented the council with a number of difficulties.

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“It has had a significant impact on the amount of accommodation available for rent because clearly there is the need to provide accommodation throughout the town for a number of asylum seekers.

“This has shown itself quite clearly in the people we have on our waiting lists for accommodation.

“Other authorities are better placed simply because of the fact they have surplus accommodation. The local pressures do outweigh the fact that we should consider ourselves an induction area.”

A report to the executive committee claimed there would be added pressure on schools and social care and the potential for increased racial tension if an induction centre was built.

The Home Office has said it would take the views of Ipswich borough councillors into account before deciding where to site such a centre.

A spokesman said: “Ipswich is one of the areas we are looking at about the possibility of siting an induction centre there.

“If a report has been published which suggests the local facilities and local opinion is against the siting of an induction centre, of course we will take that on board when conducting an assessment into the suitability of any location.”

The Government is aiming to set up a national network of induction centres of about 100 bed spaces to speed up the asylum seeker process.

Ipswich is one of the preferred sites in the eastern region, but the Government is also considering Bedford and Peterborough for the centre.

danielle.nuttall@eadt.co.uk

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