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EIGHT DAYS AND COUNTING

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Newcastle Chronicle & Journal Ltd

January 23, 2003

North Hykeham MP Douglas Hogg says he expects the Home Office to soon reveal once and for all if it intends to turn Caythorpe Court, inCaythorpe, near Sleaford, into a 550-bed facility. The MP, who was due to speak about his opposition to the plans in the House of Commons today, said he and the residents of Caythorpe would have their answer soon. Villagers campaigning against the plan will step up their opposition by holding a public meeting at Caythorpe Village Hall at 7.30pm on Monday. The MP has written to new owner the Angel Group, the national Asylum Seekers’ Support Service and Home Secretary David Blunkett. “I have now spoken to Julia Dave, the managing director of the Angel Group, and to Freida Challoner of the National Asylum Seekers Support Service (NASSS),” said Mr Hogg. “Both say that no final decision has been made. Ms Challoner said she hoped a decision would be made within eight days.” The Echo first revealed that Caythorpe Court was at the centre of a asylum centre bid in December. NASSS has asked a property developer if the Victorian-built estate could be usedas a temporary accommodation facility. Both Mr Hogg, local authority South Kesteven District Council and Caythorpe residents feared that asylum seekers could start arriving at the centre without the permission of local councillors under a legal loophole, it has been revealed. The Angel Group had said it planned to sidestep planning law and turn the formeragricultural college into a facility under existing permission to use the estatefor “educational purposes”. In a letter to Mr Hogg Ms Davey said: “It is my company’s intention that if the property is to be used for accommodating asylum seekers, the nature of the activities which will be undertaken will be such that the use will fall within the existing authorised use for the purposes of the Town and County planning legislation.” The plan to avoid a planning application being made to South Kesteven District Council has also been confirmed by Minister of State Beverley Hughes. Yet Mike Sibthorp, head of South Kesteven District Council’s land use planning department, claims to have received reassurance from the Home Office that the centre is “unlikely” to be wanted as an induction centre. “I was assured that any such proposal would be the subject of full local consultation involving the district council and local villagers,” said Mr Sibthorp. “I was also reassured that, if necessary, a planning application for change of use would be submitted.”

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Written by Concerned

January 23, 2003 at 11:35 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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