A FORMER air base earmarked for two "mega prisons" in the middle of the countryside could become an immigrant facility.

Braintree Council says it has been approached to turn the RAF airfield site in Wethersfield into a place to house asylum seekers.

A Braintree Council spokesman said: “We were approached by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities overnight on Monday, March 6, to discuss the potential role of Wethersfield airfield site in housing asylum seekers.

“We have no further details at this stage. We are aware of the recent news and social media coverage around this, and we will be seeking clarification from the Home Office.”

The Home Office said it was looking at a “range of accommodation options”.

A government spokesman said: “We have always been upfront about the unprecedented pressure being put on our asylum system, brought about by a significant increase in dangerous and illegal journeys into the country.  

“We continue to work across government and with local authorities to look at a range of accommodation options and sites, but the best way to relieve these pressures is to stop the boats in the first place. 

“That is why we are introducing legislation which will ensure that people arriving in the UK illegally are detained and swiftly removed to another country.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said migrants arriving in the UK illegally will be removed “within weeks” as the Government unveiled plans for fresh laws to curb Channel crossings.

The Prime Minister also confirmed the Illegal Migration Bill – to stop people claiming asylum in the UK if they arrive through unauthorised means – will apply “retrospectively” if passed.

Unveiling the plans in the Commons earlier this week, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said asylum seekers arriving illegally will be detained and face a lifetime ban on returning after they are removed.

The site in Wethersfield has been eyed up by the Ministry of Justice as a potential location to build two new prisons.

If it goes ahead, about 1,715 male prisoners will be held in each of the prisons which will be built next to one another.

The MOJ is yet to submit a planning application for the project.