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MP wants probe into asylum group

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Lincolnshire Echo

January 14, 2003

Mp douglas Hogg is demanding more information about the support group behind a bid to create an asylum centre in a Lincolnshire village. Last month the Lincolnshire Echo reported on proposals by The Angel Group to develop Caythorpe Court, at Caythorpe, near Sleaford, into an accommodation centre for around 300 asylum seekers. Now Mr Hogg has written to the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) after receiving information that the body had made a request to the Angel Group to use the former Lincolnshire School of Agriculture’s 31 acre site. Sleaford and North Hykeham MP Douglas Hogg said: “The proposal is still at a premature stage and I need to know more about what is behind this bid. “I have written to the National Asylum Support Service and have asked them what their status is and whether they are an agency of the Government or some form of voluntary body.” Mr Hogg has warned the NASS that any application for the housing of asylum seekers will be vigorously opposed by the local community and recommended that the service find a more appropriate site. He is now waiting for a response to a list of questions he has sent to the NASS. Among his inquiries are a request for details on the number of asylum seekers that would be based at Caythorpe Court, their origins and how long they would stay for. Mr Hogg, who has written to the Hone Secretary David Blunkett on this issue, has also been in regular communication with The Angel Group, which owns the site, over the past two months. He said: “One of the letters I got back from the Angel Group surprised me because it inferred they did not need any planning permission for the centre. “Which is contrary to the advice I had received. “It maybe possible they have been proceeding on misinformation and may now need to consider their approach.” South Kesteven District Council has asked a barrister to confirm whether or not planning permission would be required. Caythorpe’s District Councillor Peter Martin-Mayhew has said he believes they would require planning consent. He said: “If developers want to change Caythorpe Court from its existing use as an educational facility then we could oppose the bid. “But the Government could use a “Crown Immunity” which means we could not stop it.” The news comes after tempers were getting frayed at a public meeting in Caythorpe last night. The parish council held an open discussion about the plans at the village hall. More than 200 people attended the meeting. Terry Norman (72) of South Parade, Caythorpe, has formed an action group. He aims to fight the proposals to the very end. He said the centre would ruin a rural community. “We will oppose this bid to the death. “We are currently gathering information on the bodies behind the bid. “And are gathering signature for a petition we aim to send to Downing Street.” The village of Caythorpe has a resident population of around 2000, with 500 houses, two pubs, a convenience store and a post office. Chairman of Caythorpe parish council, Andy Roberts, said they could only act as an advisory panel at the moment. He said: “We are awaiting a decision by the Angel Group as to what they are going to do with Caythorpe Court. “Any information we get the action group are willing to have.”

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Written by Concerned

January 14, 2003 at 2:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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