Home Office proposes plans to use former Northeye prison as detention centre

Northeye prison in Bexhill-on-Sea Credit: ITV News Meridian

The MP for Bexhill and Battle, Huw Merrimen, has assured residents that the site of a former prison in East Sussex will not be turned into an open asylum centre.

It comes after the Home Office revealed its proposals to use the site as a detention facility for illegal migrants awaiting removal from the country.

In a post on social media, Mr Merrimen said: "The centre will be a closed, detained and secure site and that those staying will not be expected to remain for longer than 45 days.

"With the site being proposed as a closed site, the existing buildings will require total demolition and rebuild.

"I will work with our local business community and JobCentre Plus to ensure local businesses and residents benefit from this work...I will continue to take an active role in these matters."

In a statement, Rother District Council and East Sussex County Council said: "We note today’s update that the Home Office now proposes to use the Northeye site in Bexhill as a detention centre for people who have arrived in the country without permission.

"There are still many unknown details about the new proposal, including when construction work on the site would be carried out, when the first people would arrive and how many people would be housed there. The demand on local public services also needs to be assessed.

"While this proposal could have a lower impact on surrounding communities than an open centre for migrants, we know it remains a serious concern for many residents, especially those who live closest to Northeye.

"They would welcome more information and regular updates from the Home Office and we will continue to press for these on behalf of everyone in our communities."