Plans for Asylum Dispersal Centre Confirmed as Scrapped

Asylum Dispersal Centre Buxton

High Peak Borough Council has welcomed confirmation from the Home Office that High Peak Halls in Buxton will not be used as an Asylum Dispersal Centre and these plans have been completely scrapped.

The announcement by made by High Peak Borough Council and Robert Largan MP this week.

Proposals by Serco, the Home Office’s asylum accommodation provider, and the University of Derby last summer caused widespread concern amongst the community who felt that this location was not the right one for vulnerable people, a view shared by the Council, Derbyshire Constabulary and Derbyshire County Council.

Robert Largan, High Peak MP, met with the Immigration Minister this week to discuss the matter.

Last year, the University of Derby had advanced plans to repurpose High Peak Halls, the former student accommodation, into a 288-bed Asylum Dispersal Centre. Objections from Derbyshire Police cited safety concerns for vulnerable individuals as well as concerns about the plans from the local community. 1,400 residents formally objected to the University’s planning application.

The University withdrew its proposal just prior to a vote by High Peak Borough Councillors last summer.  The university subsequently said it would “revise and resubmit an application as soon as possible”. However, recent developments have brought clarity to the matter.

In a meeting with the Immigration Minister on Thursday 14th March, it was decided Buxton town centre was unsuitable for accommodating asylum seekers. The Government added that no asylum accommodation should be procured anywhere in Buxton town centre.

High Peak Borough Council has been working collaboratively with Derbyshire Constabulary and Derbyshire County Council to raisecollective concerns about these proposals with the Home Office. This is part of the well-established partnership arrangement between these organisations to promote community safety and support the best interests of High Peak residents.

Council Leader, Councillor Anthony Mckeown, said: “The Council welcomes this clarification and confirmation from the Home Office that the student halls in Buxton will not be used to accommodate asylum seekers and that activity to secure the premises for that purpose has stopped.

“I know this caused a lot of concern in the community so confirmation that this option is no longer on the table will put many minds at rest.

“The Council, along with our partners, never thought that this location was suitable for people seeking asylum and have continued to make the reasons for this clear to the Government. I am pleased that, on this occasion, they have listened to us, our partners and the community and that there is now no prospect of High Peak Halls being used for this purpose.”

Using High Peak Halls to offer affordable homes is one of the suggestions which has been put forward.


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