Government completes purchase of site proposed for asylum seekers, council says

The Government has completed its purchase of a former prison earmarked to house asylum seekers in East Sussex, a council has said.

The Northeye site in Bexhill was announced as a proposed location to house 1,200 people in March this year.

In a statement on October 9, Rother District Council leader Doug Oliver said: “It is our understanding that the government’s purchase of the Northeye site has been completed.

“It is disappointing that neither Rother District Council nor local residents were informed by the Home Office of this important change, despite the commitment made to keep all stakeholders informed.”

Mr Oliver added that no final decision had been made to use the site, and that the council was seeking more information from the Home Office on their proposals to reassure residents.

Huw Merriman
Northeye would be a ‘closed, detained and secure’ site, Bexhill and Battle MP Huw Merriman said (James Manning/PA)

In April, Rother District Council and East Sussex County Council said they had been informed of the plans just hours before the Government announcement on March 29.

They said there had been “no previous discussions” with the Government and were seeking urgent answers from the Home Office.

In August, Bexhill and Battle MP Huw Merriman said if the use of Northeye goes ahead it will be a “closed, detained and secure” site for people awaiting deportation from the UK.

According to the Home Office’s factsheet on its plans for Northeye, it is working on proposals to use the disused prison as asylum accommodation and is exploring it being used for detention purposes.

The Home Office has been approached for comment.

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