Council applies for interim injunction against Home Office’s asylum plans for Wethersfield

Braintree District Council has applied for an interim injunction challenging Home Office proposals to place asylum seekers at Wethersfield Airfield.

We are aware from the announcement made by central government today (March 29) that the Home Office is intending to proceed with securing accommodation for asylum seekers at Wethersfield Airfield.  

It is extremely disappointing that concerns raised by us and the local community have not been taken on board. Our view remains that Wethersfield Airfield is an unsuitable site, given the lack of capacity in local services, its isolated location, the size of the site, and the fact that the scale of the development proposed could have a significant adverse impact upon the local community.  

For the past two weeks officers have been working tirelessly to keep the situation under review and urgently seeking clarification and more information from the Home Office on these plans. 

Legal options

We have been exploring all legal options available to us to challenge the Home Office on their decision making and challenge the plans from going ahead. Following legal advice we received, we applied to the High Court this morning (Wednesday 29th March) for an interim injunction. This injunction challenges the Home Office proposals to place asylum seekers at Wethersfield Airfield. The matter is expected to be listed before the High Court within the next 7 days. We understand that the application will be heard by the High Court before the site is occupied by asylum seekers. 

We want to say thank you again to all those who have been working with us, including local parish councils, community groups and residents. We will continue to work with everyone as we move forward.  

If the plans do go ahead and the High Court decide not to grant an interim injunction, we will work closely with our partners to urgently identify any actions required to support any asylum seekers accommodated as well as minimise any impacts on local communities.  

It’s important for us to be keeping the local community updated on these plans and we will continue to press the Home Office for more information on their plans and keep our channels updated as and when we know more, including the outcome from the High Court regarding the injunction.  

Published: 29th March 2023