Wethersfield Airfield Judicial Review to proceed to final hearing

Lady Justice Thornton granted permission to proceed with the Judicial Review

Braintree District Council's judicial review permission application against an asylum centre on the former Wethersfield airbase will go to a final hearing.

Council leader Cllr Graham Butland said: 

“Our Judicial Review permission hearing was heard at the High Court this week on 12 and 13 July, giving the council the opportunity to further challenge the Class Q point and the failures of the Home Office to take into account a range of issues as part of their decision to use the site for accommodation of up to 1,700 asylum seekers.  

“This was also heard alongside the other judicial reviews from West Lindsey District Council for the RAF Scampton site and a resident from Wethersfield. 

“We are pleased that Lady Justice Thornton granted us permission to proceed with our Judicial Review on the following challenges: 

  • Environmental Impact Assessment direction 

  • Reliance on the use of permitted development rights (Class Q) 

  • Equality Impact Assessment challenge 

“We are grateful to have had another opportunity to put our views and the views of our local community across to the High Court at this initial stage, as we still believe Wethersfield Airfield is not a suitable site for these plans. 

“The case will now proceed to a final hearing. This will be the Council’s opportunity to formally present its challenge under the grounds on which we have been granted permission and will allow for evidence to be presented to the Court. The final hearing will be subject to the Court’s normal case management process and at this stage, we do not know when the matter would be listed for a final hearing, but we will update residents when we know more. 

“This does not stop the Home Office from utilising the site to house asylum seekers in the meantime and we are aware that an initial group of 46 individuals moved onto the site this week and more expected over the coming weeks. 

“Again we’ll continue to work closely with the Home Office and multi-agency partners to ensure there is minimal impact on all those involved residents that live nearby and local services, as well as raising our concerns with the Home Office so it can put in place mitigating action, whilst supporting asylum seekers coming to our district. 

“We will also continue to push for regular, open and transparent engagement with the wider community, which to date we feel has been lacking and creating frustrations quite rightly for our residents and businesses who have been left with a void of information.” 

Published: 14th July 2023