The government’s plans to set up a series of asylum accommodation
centres were plunged further into disarray last week after the
deputy prime minister John Prescott refused to give a centre his
Prescott refused to agree to RAF Newton in Nottinghamshire being
converted into an accommodation centre for asylum seekers waiting
for their applications to be processed.
The government announced its intention to set up a network of at
least four accommodation centres in October 2001, but so far six
out of seven sites considered by ministers have either been dropped
or refused planning permission.
The newest site to be identified, the Navy base at HMS Daedalus in
Gosport, Hampshire, was abandoned in February. Throckmorton
Airfield in Worcestershire has also been dropped.
Court of Appeal judges have reserved judgment over whether a
defence storage and distribution centre at Bicester in Oxfordshire
will become an accommodation centre. Cherwell District Council
appealed against a High Court ruling that backed the original
In February 2003, the Home Office announced that plans for sites at
RAF Hemswell in Lincolnshire, Sully Hospital in Glamorgan, and
Airwest in Edinburgh had all been dismissed.