Former Woodbridge police station will be used to house asylum seekers

Woodbridge Police station was sold for over � 1 million Picture: RUTH LEACH

The former Woodbridge police station will be housing asylum seekers - Credit: Archant

A converted Suffolk police station will be used to house asylum seekers. 

It was announced in 2011 that Woodbridge police station would be closed as part of cost-cutting measures by Suffolk Constabulary. 

Since then the station has passed through a number of hands as plans were put together to bring the historic building back into use. 

Permission was granted  by the-then Suffolk Coastal District Council to turn the former station into 14 flats in February 2017. 

It was the third set of plans submitted for the site. 

The property was then sold at auction a month later for more than £1.1million and at the time it was predicted that the buyer could reap up to £3.8m in gross development value following construction.

The conversion work to the former station has now been completed but it will no longer be sold privately, instead it will be used to house asylum seekers. 

The apartments are being leased by Serco, which deals with the provision of housing and welfare support services for asylum applicants within the UK.

Serco confirmed on Friday that it was in the process of leasing the former police station and that the building would be used to house families. 

"We have also been engaging with a number of local charity and volunteer groups and we are really appreciative of the warm welcome and the offers of support received from the community," said a Serco spokesman. 

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Suffolk Refugee Support, which helps those arriving in the county to integrate with communities confirmed that they would be helping the families once they were housed in Woodbridge. 

The charity said it would be providing support and advice to these families as well as orientation.

Some residents in Woodbridge have been concerned, not by the use of the flats to house asylum seekers, but that the change of use for the building hadn't been better communicated to residents. 

"We have to house asylum seekers," said resident Philip Ager. 

"What concerns us has been the secrecy. It's been a bit of a mystery."

The Home Office has also been contacted for comment but had not responded at the time of publishing. 

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