BRAINTREE Council has confirmed it has been told plans to accommodate asylum seekers on the RAF Wethersfield site "are under consideration".

The council previously confirmed the news last week, saying it had been approached to turn the site into a place to house asylum seekers.

Now, Braintree Council has provided a further update into the situation.

A spokesman said: "Residents will be aware of the recent media coverage about potential plans by the Home Office to secure accommodation for asylum seekers at Wethersfield Airfield.

"We were recently approached by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to discuss the potential role the Wethersfield airfield site could have in housing asylum seekers.

"Last week we were urgently seeking clarification from the Home Office and met with them on Friday.

"They emphasised that no decision has yet been taken, however they confirmed that plans to provide contingency accommodation for asylum seekers on this site are under consideration, with several government departments involved.

"We understand that if the site is used it would be on the basis of providing accommodation for asylum seekers whilst their claims for asylum are being determined and not as a detention centre."

The council believes the airfield is "unsuitable".

The spokesman added: "We reiterated our initial view that we believe Wethersfield airfield to be an unsuitable site, given the lack of capacity in local services and its isolated location.

"We are now seeking legal advice to see if there is anything within our powers to prevent the development going ahead.

"We await further details, including any potential timescales, from the Home Office.

"If the Home Office decide to provide accommodation for asylum seekers at Wethersfield airfield, we will work closely with our partners, including Essex County Council, the NHS Integrated Care Board and Essex Police, to identify any actions required to support any asylum seekers accommodated as well as minimise any negative impacts on local communities.

"We will keep residents informed when we know more."

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.