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Response to Napier Barracks Planning Application Consultation

Jennifer Blair

The Helen Bamber Foundation (HBF) has worked in connection with the use of Napier Barracks (‘Napier’) since it was first designated as contingency accommodation for people seeking asylum in September 2020. HBF clinicians have undertaken individual clinical screening assessments of people accommodated in Napier, or who were previously accommodated in Napier and carried out a literature scoping review of the impact of contingency asylum accommodation on asylum seeker health and participated in cross-sector clinical expert calls for the site to be closed on health grounds. HBF provided evidence to the legal challenge to the use of the Napier site, which was accepted by the High Court Judge, and to the APPG on Immigration Detention inquiry.

It is HBF's view that this consultation is fundamentally inadequate. It is being undertaken only after the site has been opened and nearly six months after the extension for use of the site was granted. It is not clear for what purpose this consultation is being undertaken given that it cannot now impact the outcome of the planning permission decision. This response deals with issues that relate to conditions, welfare and impact on residents and the community, because these go to the question of whether extended use of the site is  legitimate or desirable from a planning perspective.


Our response to the planning consultation covers the following areas:

  1. The importance of consultation in the provision of asylum accommodation;
  2. Impact on health of institutional accommodation;
  3. Access to healthcare, data privacy and informed consent;
  4. Accommodation for vulnerable population and processes around vulnerability 
  5. identification and induction;
  6. Location and physical characteristics resulting in re-traumatisation;
  7. Access to advice and support, including specialist support service;
  8. Socio-cultural, private and family life rights;
  9. Destitution, adequacy and dependency on civil society/charity;
  10. Inspection frameworks and standards; residents’ views and safety on site;
  11. Public health and surrounding building works.