Asylum Dispersal Centre in Buxton scrapped and will never be going ahead after Immigration Secretary ruled it out

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A large-scale Asylum Dispersal Centre at the former university halls of residence in Buxton will not be going ahead and the town centre has been ruled out as ever being a venue for anything similar.

Proposals for a 288-bed asylum centre put forward last year by Serco, the Home Office’s asylum accommodation provider, and the University of Derby caused widespread concern amongst the community who felt that this location was not the right one for vulnerable people, a view shared by the Council, Derbyshire Constabulary and Derbyshire County Council.

More than 1,400 people complained about the proposal and since last summer when the university withdrew the application just hours before it was due to be discussed by members of the High Peak Borough Council’s development and control committee.

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The university promised it would be pressing ahead with the plans and bring forward a new application for the asylum centre.

Protests last summer when plans were submitted to convert the former halls of residence in Buxton in to a 288-bed asylum centre. Photo submittedProtests last summer when plans were submitted to convert the former halls of residence in Buxton in to a 288-bed asylum centre. Photo submitted
Protests last summer when plans were submitted to convert the former halls of residence in Buxton in to a 288-bed asylum centre. Photo submitted

Since last summer, Buxton has been in limbo, not knowing when a fresh application would be submitted.

Now, it has been confirmed that High Peak Halls will not be used to accommodate asylum seekers.

High Peak MP Robert Largan met with the Immigration Minister, Tom Pursglove and set out the reasons why Buxton town centre is a completely unsuitable location for a large-scale asylum dispersal centre.

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The government has now issued instructions that High Peak Halls must not be used for asylum accommodation.

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High Peak MP Robert Largan met with the Immigration Minister, Tom Pursglove and set out the reasons why Buxton town centre is a completely unsuitable location for a large-scale asylum dispersal centre. Photo submittedHigh Peak MP Robert Largan met with the Immigration Minister, Tom Pursglove and set out the reasons why Buxton town centre is a completely unsuitable location for a large-scale asylum dispersal centre. Photo submitted
High Peak MP Robert Largan met with the Immigration Minister, Tom Pursglove and set out the reasons why Buxton town centre is a completely unsuitable location for a large-scale asylum dispersal centre. Photo submitted

The Government have gone even further, issuing instructions that no asylum accommodation be procured anywhere in Buxton town centre.

Robert Largan MP said: “The University’s plans for an asylum centre are officially dead. This is a big victory for local people and for common sense.

“Thank you to everyone who has worked with me in fighting these plans.

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“This has been a combined effort from a huge number of local people from across the High Peak.

“However, I still want to see High Peak Halls used in a positive way to help local people.

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“I don’t just want to see it left empty. I have been pushing for High Peak Halls to be converted into badly needed affordable homes for local people. But I am keen to hear other suggestions for the site, now that the University of Derby need to go back to the drawing board.”

High Peak Borough Council Leader, Councillor Anthony Mckeown, welcomed the confirmation from the Home Office that High Peak Halls will not be used to accommodate asylum seekers.

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He said: "The Council welcomes this clarification and confirmation from the Home Office and that activity to secure the premises for that purpose has stopped.

"I know this caused a lot of concern in the community so confirmation that this option is no longer on the table will put many minds at rest.

"The Council, along with our partners, never thought that this location was suitable for people seeking asylum and have continued to make the reasons for this clear to the Government. I am pleased they have listened to us, our partners and the community and that there is now no prospect of High Peak Halls being used for this purpose."