Residents of Cottingham call meeting to discuss university halls asylum seeker plan

The Lawns complex was previously used as university accommodation for students in Hull. Credit: MEN

Residents of an East Yorkshire village have called a public meeting to discuss plans to turn former student halls into housing for asylum seekers.

People will gather at the village hall in Cottingham on Thursday evening after Home Office proposals to accommodate migrants at The Lawns complex were made public.

The site, on Harland Way, which can hold almost 1,000 people, is owned by the University of Hull and used to house students. It closed in 2019.

Local MPs and councillors have voiced concerns at the plans.

One councillor, Ros Jump, who represents Cottingham North, last month spoke out against the proposals, saying the village "should not become a dumping ground for asylum seekers".

Cottingham North councillor Ros Jump is opposed to the plans. Credit: MEN

Another former hall of residence in the area, the smaller Thwaite Hall, is already being used to accommodate up to an estimated 200 migrants.

Cllr Jump said it was "functioning quite well" but believes having another "thousand strangers" in The Lawns would have an impact on village life.

The government has been under pressure to change the way they deal with asylum seekers following allegations of overcrowding and a diphtheria outbreak at a facility in Kent, leading to the death of a man being held there.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has been exploring possible alternatives for accommodating people after widespread criticism of the use of hotels.

The sprawling Lawns complex can accommodate almost 1,000 people Credit: MEN

In a statement, a government spokesperson said the Home Office "does not routinely comment on individual sites" being considered for use as asylum accommodation.

“The number of people arriving in the UK who require accommodation has reached record levels due to the unacceptable rise in small boat arrivals and our commitment to accommodate those from Afghanistan," the statement said.

“Every day the hotel bill for accommodating more than 45,500 asylum seekers and over 9,200 Afghans is £6.8 million and the British public rightly expect that we reduce these costs as quickly as possible.

"We therefore continue to look at all available options to source appropriate and cost-effective temporary accommodation.”

The University of Hull said last month there "haven't been any decisions taken on the future of the site", although a decision is expected in February.

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