Essex migrant base still facing fire safety and water issues despite people already living on-site

RAF Wethersfield in Essex
RAF Wethersfield in Essex
Mark White

By Mark White

Published: 23/08/2023

- 14:45

Updated: 24/08/2023

- 07:48

A document seen by GB News pointed out that fire safety and water issues have been raised as risks 'multiple times'

A controversial migrant accommodation centre in Essex is still facing issues around fire safety and the connection of other utilities, GB News can reveal.

A Home Office assessment seen by GB News has shown a number of unresolved problems that have to be addressed before the former RAF Wethersfield site can be fully functional.

The assessment, which was issued to a number of stakeholders, including the area’s local authorities, estimates that it’s still on track to house 1700 Channel migrants at the base by the end of the year.

However, GB News was told last week that only 80 people were living at Wethersfield, more than a month after the first migrants arrived on site.

A sign near RAF Wethersfield in EssexA sign near RAF Wethersfield in EssexPA

The internal document lists a number of outstanding actions that still have to be dealt with.

It states the “urgency of getting the water supplies information and fire risk assessments as this crucial”.

The document points out that these issues have been raised as risks “multiple times”.

The briefing also claims that authorities are on course to house up to 500 migrants at the base by the end of August, depending on the progress of refurbishment work on a number of buildings on the site.

Migrant dinghy spotted crossing the Channel

Migrant dinghy spotted crossing the Channel

GB News
A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, KentA group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, KentPA

By the end of October, officials expect to have bedspace for up to 700 single male migrants living at Wethersfield.

And by the end of December, that figure should have reached the target number of 1700.

The briefing confirms that earlier reported outbreaks of diseases including Tuberculosis and Scabies are now “under control and correct procedure was followed”.

The project has faced severe criticism from nearby residents and the area’s local councils who are currently challenging the Home Office in the High Court seeking a reversal of the Wethersfield plans.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Delivering accommodation on surplus military sites will provide cheaper and more orderly, suitable accommodation for those arriving in small boats whilst helping to reduce the use of hotels.

“These accommodation sites will house asylum seekers in basic, safe and secure accommodation as they await a decision on their claim.

“In the case of Wethersfield, the Home Office has obtained planning permission to use the site for 12 months. We understand the concerns of local communities and will work closely with councils and key partners to manage the impact of using these sites, including liaising with local police to make sure appropriate arrangements are in place.”

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