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Plans submitted to refurbish Haslar immigration centre

By Connor Steel

GOSPORT BOROUGH COUNCIL have confirmed that the Home Office have officially submitted plans to demolish two buildings at Haslar Immigration Removal Centre (HIRC) and have asked residents to comment on their application; the centre set to reopen later this Autumn and host ‘six hundred males’ following a previous announcement made last year.

The Haslar IRC was closed back in 2015 under the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition Government after a review highlighted immigration detention as “expensive and damaging to detainees”. But it looks set to be reopening the doors as part of this current Government’s focus on illegal migration and “stopping the boats”, as outlined by PM Rishi Sunak.

It is one of many former removal and military sites to be transformed as part of current policy, which looks at cutting the cost of housing asylum seekers and deterring dangerous Channel crossings. Recent figures shows that around 51,000 asylum seekers are currently based in hotels across Britain and this costs the taxpayer around £6 million a day to fund.

Planning applications were submitted by Cushman & Wakefield on Monday (September 11) to ‘refurbish’ multiple areas of the Haslar site located off Dolphin Way; the two earmarked buildings being part of the Haslar Barracks Conservation Area (HBCA). This means that work must be approved by council and therefore must follow the necessary procedures.

The buildings are said to be in very ‘poor’ condition and features multiple aspects; such as a huge store, kitchen, dining rooms, greenhouse, sentry box, and server room alongside others. It is believed that these will all be re-located into the removal centre’s main building; Government officials saying that this will help to ensure the facility is all ‘fit for purpose’.

Residents have been advised that they can examine all planning documents and comment using this link, which will be available for a few weeks. A final decision is due to be made by November 6 and the work will be carried out by ‘Goody Demolition’ if approved; staff due to be on site from 8am to 5pm during weekdays and the area will close on weekends.

PICTURED BY ALAMY (G9ND0E): Home Office wants to refurbish the Haslar Immigration Removal Centre in Gosport.