Judicial review challenging Home Office’s Wethersfield asylum plans made

An appeal hearing date is yet to be set

Braintree District Council has applied for a judicial review challenging the Home Office's decision to use the former Wethersfield airfield as an asylum centre.

Council Leader Councillor Graham Butland said: 

"As some of you will be aware, we have decided to appeal the High Court’s decision not to grant Braintree District Council an injunction against the Home Office’s proposals to secure accommodation for asylum seekers at Wethersfield Airfield. 

"We do not have a date for our appeal hearing yet, but we will keep residents updated once we know more. 

"As previously stated, we have continued to look at the other legal options available to us and we have also issued an application for judicial review challenging the Home Office’s decision to use the site for this purpose. 

"We are aware there are currently two other judicial review proceedings that have been issued from West Lindsey District Council for their site at RAF Scampton and a resident from Wethersfield. We understand West Lindsey’s judicial review includes an application for an interim injunction which is due to be heard by the High Court today (May 11) and we will assist the court in any directions for future management of all three judicial reviews. 

"The Home Office can still prepare the site whilst legal proceedings are in progress and we understand survey work is still ongoing. 

"We still need to prepare to support any asylum seekers if legal proceedings are not successful. We are continuing to work with local partners to plan for this as well as mitigating any pressures on local services and the impact on the local community.   

"We are aware of the possibility of funding for local authorities with a per-bedspace payment for asylum seekers, however we have not received any details from the Home Office and we do not know what level of funding is being proposed or what it will be provided for at this stage.

"We do however expect this funding to be called upon by a number of other local partners and not just Braintree District Council. 

"We recognise that there are still many unanswered questions about these proposals and ongoing concerns within the community. Please know that we are doing all we can behind the scenes to press the Home Office for more details, encouraging them to urgently share additional information when it becomes available and to engage proactively with the community.

"With our partners, we continue to raise questions and concerns from the community as part of these discussions. We will keep residents updated as we progress with our legal proceedings and with any information we receive from the Home Office. 

"Thank you to all residents, parish councils, community groups and MPs for your continued support as we move through this process."

Published: 11th May 2023