Oxford

Campsfield House immigration centre expansion decision delayed

Campsfield House Image copyright Google
Image caption Councils in the area objected to the plans to expand the centre

A decision on whether to double the size of an immigration detention centre in Oxfordshire has been delayed.

Cherwell District Council voted to wait and take legal advice before deciding if Campsfield House near Kidlington should expand.

The application was for additional detainee accommodation, staff facilities, car parking, landscaping and internal fencing.

The council had been recommended to approve the application.

Maurice Wren, from the Refugee Council, welcomed the news.

He said: "There is no clarity about detention policy in the UK and it would be a foolish mistake to commit to large- scale expenditure on the expansion of Campsfield.

"That's why it's a national issue."

But the Home Office said immigration removal centres played an important role in its work to remove people who had no right to remain in the UK, and it was right that it had "the adequate facilities in place".

'Political issue'

Campsfield House has been an immigration centre since 1993 and is run by Mitie on behalf of the Home Office.

The current capacity is 276 detainees and the plans will add a two and three-storey building to the west of the current facility as well as other smaller buildings.

The changes would bring the total capacity to 566.

Car parking and facilities would be built for 100 additional staff.

Kidlington Parish Council objects to the application because it claims the plans don't offer "high value employment" or offer "successful transition between town and country environments".

Begbroke Parish Council also objected due to the "political issue concerning immigration and what to do with the people awaiting decisions" and the effect on the A44.

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