Wethersfield asylum centre injunction appeal dismissed

The council is reflecting on the detail in the decision

Braintree District Council's appeal against the usage of Wethersfield Airfield as an asylum centre has been dismissed.

 Cllr Graham Butland, leader of Braintree District Council, said: 

"Today (Friday 23 June) we received the Court of Appeal’s judgement on our appeal against the High Court’s decision to not grant us with an injunction to stop the Home Office’s proposals to provide accommodation for asylum seekers at Wethersfield Airfield, and their decision that the Home Office could rely on the use of permitted development rights (Class Q) as a way of getting around the need for planning permission.  

"The Rt Hon Sir Keith Lindblom has unfortunately decided to dismiss our appeal. In doing so the Court of Appeal has determined not to grant us with an injunction and have decided not to determine the Class Q point. We are extremely disappointed with this outcome. We are particularly disappointed on the Court of Appeal’s refusal to provide a definitive answer on the interpretation of the wording contained within Class Q, despite being invited by all the parties to do so, and Mr Justice Waksman’s recognition that the interpretation of this point was one of national importance. 
"We now need to reflect on the detail contained within the judgement and consider the council’s position.  

"We will be proceeding with our judicial review permission hearing next month, which further challenges the Home Office’s decision to use the site for this purpose. A Judicial Review requires permission from the Court and this hearing will determine whether the three judicial reviews (ours, West Lindsey District Council and a resident from Wethersfield) are granted permission to proceed with the judicial reviews. If permission is granted, the case will then go to a final hearing which would give an opportunity for us to further seek clarification on the interpretation of Class Q in the judicial review. 


"We continue to stand behind the community on the fact that the site is unsuitable for these plans and we are doing all we can through legal routes to prevent it from going ahead. This is all whilst we are continuing to work with our partners to mobilise should the plans progress, to support asylum seekers accommodated and ensure minimal impact on all those involved. 

"There are still many pressing issues that we feel need addressing from the Home Office around transport and vehicle movement, impact on road infrastructure, security and safety, and lack of operational plans for the site with clear timescales and funding. There is frustration with the lack of information and unanswered questions and rightly so, and we are working hard behind the scenes to press the Home Office for more information and for them to actively engage with the local community. We have been and will continue to raise the concerns and feedback coming from residents, local businesses, parish councils and community groups with the Home Office to ensure local voices and concerns are heard.     

"In the meantime, the Home Office, this week, have confirmed that they will not be looking to accommodate anyone on the Wethersfield site before 11 July.  

"We will of course continue to keep the community updated and update our webpage with any new information.

"Thank you to those who have worked with us and supported us throughout this process so far."  

Published: 23rd June 2023