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Archive for November 2002

Asylum centre fears prompt MP to ask company for answers

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Lincolnshire Echo

November 20, 2002

Fears that an historic Lincolnshire property could be turned into a refugee camp or asylum centre have prompted a county MP to take action. Jason Hippisley reports on a firm’s plans for Caythorpe Court, near Sleaford… DEVELOPER Angel Group bought Caythorpe Court two weeks ago and its plans for the site are unclear. Douglas Hogg, MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham, today wrote to the firm asking for straight answers over its intentions for the historic site. Caythorpe Court is thought to have potential for a massive and secluded residential development. Angel Group specialises in property development, refurbishment and accommodation plus related services for vulnerable and disadvantaged social groups. Residents in Caythorpe and surrounding villages believe it may be the company’s intention to set up an asylum seeker centre within the 31-acre estate, which already features 225 flats, a large main building and teaching blocks. The estate formed part of the University of Lincoln’s agricultural college and was due to be sold at auction last month. But it was withdrawn by the university and sold for what is believed to be substantially more than the GBP 1.5m guide price. Mr Hogg said he wrote to Angel after concerned constituents started contacting him last week asking for his intervention. After receiving what he said was a “rather bland response which does not answer my points and constituents’ questions”, he wrote back today warning the company that it faced “strong opposition” if it did pursue an asylum centre. Julia Davey, managing director of Angel Group, confirmed that its subsidiary Caythorpe Estates had bought Caythorpe Court and that it was awaiting the results of a feasibility study covering many options for future use. “We will keep you informed of our thinking as it progresses but currently we have no firm proposals for the long-term use of the property,” said Ms Davey. She said that in addition to its business in “assisted resettlement and social inclusion” Angel also ran hotels and farms and that its main business was as a property company. The company refused to speak directly to the Echo. Mr Hogg said that this response was inadequate and that the public needed to know more if it was to remain open minded about future use. “She has not dealt with any of the points raised by my constituents and in particular whether or not it is being considered as an asylum centre,” he said. “If they did consider that use then they will find the community strongly opposed on the basis that the site is wholly inappropriate. People are obviously concerned but I don’t think we should jump to that conclusion yet.” He has asked to be told what options are currently under review and when the feasibility study will be completed. Caythorpe Parish Council chairman Andy Roberts said villagers were getting worried about the future use of a building with which they have had close associations. For nearly 50 years the site was an agricultural college and before that was a wartime hub for Operation Market Garden. Before that it was a family-run estate. Caythorpe’s district councillor, Peter Martin-Mayhew, said: “Emotions are high with regard to this issue but I feel that we must try and keep a lid on it until we know more. “The secrecy really is rather silly and it’s counterproductive for the new owners. “But I think we should sit back and wait and not get too hot under the collar just yet.”

Written by Concerned

November 20, 2002 at 2:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized