Ellie Ames 18 April 2024

Asylum seekers moved from RAF Wethersfield due to incomplete safety checks

Asylum seekers moved from RAF Wethersfield due to incomplete safety checks image
Image: SevenMaps / Shutterstock.com.

The Home Office has moved 70 people away from an asylum accommodation site after it failed to complete necessary safety checks on time.

Asylum seekers were first moved onto the RAF Wethersfield site, a former airfield in Essex, in July.

The Home Office originally had permission to use the site as asylum accommodation until April 2024, but a special development order (SDO) made last month extended its use by three years, subject to certain conditions.

These include ensuring there is an adequate supply of drinking water and obtaining a contamination report.

Although the SDO came into force on 11 April, some conditions have not been met, meaning the Home Office does not have permission to house more than 580 asylums seekers.

It has moved 70 people away and into hotels, while others remain on the site.

A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘Wethersfield is safe for asylum seekers, and we are working at pace to ensure we abide by the conditions in the SDO.’

Braintree District Council, whose area includes RAF Wethersfield, has legally challenged the Home Office’s use of the site on several occasions.

Leader Graham Butland said the council has now requested ‘urgent copies’ of relevant SDO documents so it can safeguard the community and those living and working on the site.

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