Villagers protest against Badersfield asylum seeker plan

Badersfield Residents protest against bid to house asylum seekers in a former air force officers' me

Nigel Fielding was among Badersfield residents, who protested against bid to house asylum seekers in a former air force officers' mess. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Residents of a north Norfolk village have staged a protest against a plan to house asylum seekers at a former air force officers' mess.

More than 50 people attended a demonstration on Sunday morning (February 13) at the Jaguar Buildings on the Badersfield estate.

They were there to voice opposition to a proposal, submitted to Broadland District Council, to house up to 180 men seeking asylum at the former RAF Coltishall air base, a year after it was last used for that purpose

Badersfield Residents protest against bid to house asylum seekers in a former air force officers' me

Badersfield residents have protested against bid to house asylum seekers in a former air force officers' mess. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Such a use would be overseen by the Home Office and administered by its contractor, Serco.

Nigel Fielding, one of the protest organisers, told the gathering: "We are not against asylum seekers and are empathetic as to their cause.

"However, we believe that Jaguar Buildings is not a suitable location."

Badersfield Residents protest against bid to house asylum seekers in a former air force officers' me

Badersfield residents have protested against bid to house asylum seekers in a former air force officers' mess. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Mr Fielding, 65, is director of the Coltishall Barnaby Residents Company, which represents residents of the estate.

He said: "This rural area has very few facilities available to them and is totally unsuited to house asylum seekers who have already suffered greatly escaping from their troubled homelands.

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"To house 180 males sharing a maximum of 90 rooms which were built for single occupancy is unacceptable and inhumane for their complex needs and requirements."

Mr Fielding also said the government states in their own briefings that asylum seekers should be housed in urban areas with transport links, multi faith religious centres and medical facilities.

"Badersfield has none of this and is nine miles from the nearest urbanisation," he said.

Badersfield Residents protest against bid to house asylum seekers in a former air force officers' me

Badersfield residents have protested against bid to house asylum seekers in a former air force officers' mess. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

A spokesperson for One Planning - the BM Trust's agent - said: "The applicant has approached the local parish councils, ward councillors as well as council officers to assist with any queries or points of clarification they may have regarding the proposal.

"The application is currently under consideration and the responses of various consultees are yet to be received.

Badersfield Residents protest against bid to house asylum seekers in a former air force officers' me

Danny Corby, left, and Nigel Fielding were among Badersfield residents, who protested against bid to house asylum seekers in a former air force officers' mess. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

"If further matters arise as part of the planning process, the applicants would be pleased to have discussions with interested parties and address those concerns," the spokesperson said.

The application will be discussed at a meeting of Buxton Parish Council today (February 14) at 7.30pm.

Badersfield Residents protest against bid to house asylum seekers in a former air force officers' me

Badersfield residents have protested against bid to house asylum seekers in a former air force officers' mess. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Badersfield Residents protest against bid to house asylum seekers in a former air force officers' me

Badersfield residents have protested against bid to house asylum seekers in a former air force officers' mess. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Badersfield Residents protest against bid to house asylum seekers in a former air force officers' me

Badersfield residents have protested against bid to house asylum seekers in a former air force officers' mess. - Credit: Brittany Woodman