BRAINTREE Council is looking at other legal options in its bid to prevent a disused airfield being converted into secure accommodation for asylum seekers.

The council is waiting to appeal the High Court’s decision not to grant an injunction against the Home Office’s proposals to create a base for asylum seekers at Wethersfield Airfield.

The council brought legal action over the proposed use of the airfield to accommodate up to 1,700 male asylum seekers for up to 180 days each, however, lost its High Court battle last month.

Braintree Council leader Graham Butland said: “We don’t have a date for our appeal hearing yet but will keep residents updated once we know more.  

“As previously stated, we have continued to look at the other legal options available to us and we have also issued an application for judicial review challenging the Home Office’s decision to use the site for this purpose.  

“The Home Office can still prepare the site whilst legal proceedings are in progress, and we understand survey work is still ongoing.  

“We still need to prepare to support any asylum seekers if legal proceedings are not successful.

“We are continuing to work with local partners to plan for this as well as mitigating any pressures on local services and the impact on the community.  

“We are aware of the possibility of funding for local authorities with a per-bedspace payment for asylum seekers, however, we have not received any details from the Home Office, and we do not know what level of funding is being proposed or what it will be provided for at this stage.

“We do, however, expect this funding to be called upon by a number of other local partners and not just Braintree Council.  

“We recognise there are still many unanswered questions about these proposals and ongoing concerns within the community.

“Please know we are doing all we can behind the scenes to press the Home Office for more details, encouraging them to urgently share additional information when it becomes available and to engage proactively with the community.

“With our partners, we continue to raise questions and concerns from the community as part of these discussions.

“We will keep residents updated as we progress with our legal proceedings and with any information we receive from the Home Office.  

“Thank you to all residents, parish councils, community groups and MPs for your continued support as we move through this process.”