Asylum seeker plan scrapping hailed as victory for community

Nigel Fielding outside the Jaguar Buildings on the Badersfield estate, in Scottow.

Nigel Fielding outside the Jaguar Buildings on the Badersfield estate, in Scottow. - Credit: Stuart Anderson

The scrapping of plans to house asylum seekers in Badersfield has been hailed as a victory by residents. 

The Home Office has backtracked on its plans to bring Jaguar House - which was once part of RAF Coltishall - back into use as an 'initial assessment centre' for up to 180 men for a year.

Jaguar Buildings in Badersfield which could potentially be used again as an accommodation centre for

Jaguar Buildings in Badersfield - Credit: Danielle Booden

Nigel Fielding, chairman of the directors of the Coltishall Barnaby Residents Company, which represents residents of the estate, said it was a "fantastic result".

Mr Fielding said: "This is the result of everybody pulling together - including the various charities and the MP.

"We have empathy for the asylum seekers, but this is just the wrong place. They are much better off in an urban area where there are services and the infrastructure there to help them than a rural area."

Residents from Badersfield at a meeting with Jerome Mayhew about the potential of Jaguar Buildings b

A previous meeting which MP Jerome Mayhew, pictured, organised so residents could voice their thoughts about a plan to house asylum seekers at Badersfield again. - Credit: Archant 2022

Mr Fielding said he did not know what now lay in store for the future of the Grade-II listed building. 

Jaguar House previously housed asylum seekers from April 2020 until February 2021, causing controversy among locals.

Within the first month of opening, some five calls to the police and 30 complaints to the district council were made. 

Jerome Mayhew, Conservative MP for Broadland, at a meeting about the potential of Jaguar Buildings b

Jerome Mayhew, Conservative MP for Broadland, at a meeting about the potential of Jaguar Buildings being granted permission to be used as an accommodation centre for asylum seekers again. - Credit: Danielle Booden

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Jerome Mayhew, the Conservative MP for Broadland, has been lobbying to stop the site being used again, arguing that the location made it unsuitable.

He announced on Monday that the Home Office had told him the plan had been scrapped.

Mr Mayhew said: “Since I first heard the Home Office were considering using Jaguar House as a permanent facility to house asylum seekers, I have said that this would be a very significant mistake.

“Not only would it have flown in the face of very strong local opposition, but the rural location and lack of facilities made it wholly unsuitable.”

“I am delighted to say that the lobbying to persuade the Home Office that Jaguar House was not suitable has been successful.

“The government recognises that such centres are best placed in urban areas where there is access to community infrastructure.

“The Jaguar Building is the opposite: located in a small village, with inadequate community infrastructure or public transport.

“In addition, the number of asylum seekers to be housed there would have a disproportionate impact on a largely elderly small resident community.”