Debate on hostel for refugees
Yorkshire Evening Post
December 10, 2002 Yorkshire Post
Wakefield MP David Hinchliffe will use a Commons debate to force Home Office Ministers to come clean about controversial plans for asylum seekers to be given accommodation opposite Wakefield Prison. Even though the London-based Angel Group has now got planning permission to house the asylum seekers in a former Prison Service college in Love Lane, the Home Office has told Mr Hinchliffe that there are no current plans to use the site. But, as the Angel Group is reported to have spent [#163]1.2m refurbishing the premises as a dispersal centre, the Wakefield MP will today demand an answer once and for all over a proposal fiercely opposed by local councillors and condemned as a security nightmare by two retired prison officers. Mr Hinchliffe told the Yorkshire Post: I am bringing this to a head to find out who is telling the truth in this matter. The planning proposal was rejected by local councillors but overturned on appeal by the Angel Group. And Mr Hinchliffe reflected local fears by insisting that it was not a good idea to house asylum seekers so close to a prison containing sex offenders, rapists and murderers. It was also next to the Westgate pub and club area, added the MP. Mr Hinchliffe also voiced concerns that bringing asylum seekers to the area could prompt racist incidents. He said: I genuinely fear some racial difficulties. Despite the Home Office[#39]s denials, Mr Hinchliffe has previously suggested that the Angel Group has got a clear steer from somebody on the inside. Last month the Home Office signalled that use of the site had not been ruled out.