Council to appeal Wethersfield asylum centre injunction ruling

Braintree District Council is preparing appeal papers to be heard by the Court of Appeal

Braintree District Council will appeal the decision to reject the authority's injunction application for asylum seeker housing plans at Wethersfield.

Last Friday (April 21) we received the High Court’s judgement on our injunction application to challenge the Home Office’s proposals to secure accommodation for asylum seekers at Wethersfield Airfield. 

The High Court decided not to grant us with an injunction and determined that the Home Office is permitted to rely upon the provisions set out within Class Q. 

We have been reflecting on next steps and have decided to proceed with appealing the High Court’s decision, as we share the same view as many in our community that Wethersfield Airfield is not a suitable site for asylum use, and we remain of the view that the Home Office cannot rely on the use of permitted development rights (Class Q) as a way of getting around the need for planning permission. 

We will be preparing our appeal papers and will be lodging these within the next week. We’ll then await notification of when the appeal will be heard by the Court of Appeal and keep residents updated. 

This appeal does not stop the Home Office from continuing to prepare the site to house asylum seekers. We will be requesting that the appeal is heard before the Home Office place any asylum seekers on site. 

We know there is still a lot of uncertainty amongst the community on these plans and we are continuing to press the Home Office to engage directly with the local community to share more detailed plans about their proposals and fully understand the concerns being raised. 

The government has issued a frequently asked questions document published on their website. However, some details remain unclear. We are still lacking detailed information from the Home Office on the needs of any asylum seekers and the facilities that would be provided on site. 

In the meantime, we are continuing to work with our multi-agency partners to prepare if plans go ahead and identify any actions required so that we can support any asylum seekers accommodated and help to minimise any impacts on our local communities. 

Published: 28th April 2023