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Fury as refugee centre to open

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Yorkshire Evening Post

220 to be housed from next week … and MP was kept in the dark OBJECTORS claim they have been kept in the dark after it was revealed an asylum seekers’ hostel is set to open next to Wakefield Prison next week. Former prison officer Bob Austin has campaigned for four years against the scheme to house 220 asylum seekers in the former prison service college on Love Lane. People seeking asylum from Eritrea, Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq are understood to be heading to the centre which will house them for up to 28 days before they are dispersed throughout Yorkshire and Humberside. In June 2003 Angel Group, the property company behind the scheme, scrapped the hostel plans after the Home Office refused permission following a campaign by local residents and the then Wakefield MP David Hinchliffe. Inappropriate Mr Hinchliffe, who raised the issue in a Commons debate in November 2003, said at the time: “I’m very annoyed the company moved ahead with this project without any local consultation at all. “It was a completely inappropriate proposal in that location.” Wakefield MP Mary Creagh said today she knew nothing of the latest plans for an asylum seekers’ hostel until last Thursday. She added: “I’m very frustrated with Home Office officials on this. They have not been well briefed in the meetings I have had with them – I regret they haven’t kept me in the loop on this. I didn’t know anything about it. “Robert Austin was the person who informed me about it, not the Home Office.” Mr Austin, of Batley Road, said: “They will putting 200 people who have only been in the country a couple of days in one place. It’s wrong to put them there in those sorts of numbers, especially next to a top security prison. It’s a timebomb.” He added: “We feel let down by MP Mary Creagh over this issue.” Angel Group spokesman Mervyn Clarke, said: “We are not allowed to discuss the matter because of the Official Secrets Act, but the company is very happy to work with the people of Wakefield.” Coun Olivia Rowley, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “I hope people in Wakefield will open their hearts and minds to the fact these people are fleeing horrendous circumstances.”


Written by Concerned

March 16, 2007 at 4:33 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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