High Peak Borough Council denies 'collusion' claims over plans to house asylum seekers at university accommodation in Buxton

High Peak Borough Council has been forced to deny allegations of “collusion” in respect of plans to house hundreds of asylum seekers at disused university accommodation in Buxton.
High Peak Halls, in Buxton, where hundreds of asylum seekers could be housedHigh Peak Halls, in Buxton, where hundreds of asylum seekers could be housed
High Peak Halls, in Buxton, where hundreds of asylum seekers could be housed

Neil Rodgers, the local authority’s executive director, has published an open letter to residents addressing ‘misunderstandings’ over the decision by the University of Derby to withdraw their application.

In it the council address accusations of ‘collusion between the Labour-led council and Derby University’ and reiterate that they had no involvement with the proposed use of High Peak Halls as a site for asylum seekers.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

They said: “Both the Leader and Deputy Leader have publicly called for the plans to convert the Halls into asylum accommodation to be scrapped.

High Peak Borough Council, along with all other Councils, were asked by Serco in March 2023 to identify postcode areas where it would be inappropriate to accommodate asylum seekers.

“Following consultation with the police, the Council responded and identified the area around High Peak Halls as unsuitable because of existing levels of crime and anti-social behaviour. The Council has made its concerns about the application known to Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Serco and the Home Office.”

Furthermore the council claims they weren’t formally made aware that the intended use of the Halls was for asylum seekers until the middle of July. When submitting a planning application in May, the University of Derby only made reference to “non-student use”.

Hide Ad

Cllr Anthony Mckeown, leader of High Peak Borough Council, explained: “The now withdrawn application has been the subject of much debate in the High Peak and both councillors and officers have received letters from members of the public setting out some of their thoughts on the application and the administration of it by the Council.

Hide Ad

“To address some of the issues raised, and to clarify the Council’s role, an open letter from the Executive Director responsible for planning has been published on our website.

“Given the high levels of interest in this application, we wanted to ensure this information was made available to a wide audience and I hope it clears up some of the points people have raised.”

To read the open letter in full, click here.