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Response to planning application for initial accommodation centre in Badersfield, Norfolk

Kamena Dorling

In December 2021, BM Trust Ltd submitted in a full planning application for the change of use of the existing buildings to an initial assessment centre for the accommodation of asylum seekers at Jaguar House and Buildings, Jaguar Drive, Badersfield, Norfolk.

After reading the planning documents in detail, the Helen Bamber Foundation submitted a response highlighting our concerns that this accommodation is inherently unsuitable for people seeking asylum, who are a particularly vulnerable population, in light of the following features:

  • The use of a semi-closed, fenced environment, with limited freedom of movement;
  • Shared facilities and lack of privacy; and
  • Isolation from communities and the inability of residents to access services, including healthcare and legal advice, and activities as they would in the community.

We subsequently received further correspondence in April 2022 highlighting that amended plans for Jaguar Buildings had been submitted, with “a reduction in the number of service users from 180 to 95” to “reduce the need for sharing”; “an area set aside for visits of medical and welfare support teams”; and news that the service provider is “in discussions with the Norfolk CCG and Primary Care Directorship team regarding supplying a “small level of in-house health care”.

As outlined in our original letter, some of the people moved onto the site will be recent survivors of torture and other human rights abuses and there will be a vital need for specialist care and services. We strongly recommended that the in-house care proposed includes mental and other health assessments from a clinician trained in refugee health.

However, there had still been no meaningful response to concerns raised by HBF and other respondents about the isolation of residents, with the lack of accessible services nearby and lack of transportation. We submitted a further response stating that our objection still to the proposals still stood.