Plans for third detention centre near Gatwick meet opposition

Plans for third detention centre near Gatwick meet opposition


Written by: Miranda Wilson

Controversial plans for a removal centre in Crawley have come under fire from local campaigners.

No Borders Brighton wants Crawley Borough Council to reject plans to turn the Mercure Hotel on Povey Cross Road into a removal centre. The group claims the design of the 254-bed hotel means it could only be converted to house families. It strongly opposes the detention of children who it says: ‘are especially vulnerable to the physical and psychological effects of imprisonment and many end up suffering from illnesses such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, effects suffered even after a brief period of detention.’

Last month the Royal Colleges of Paediatrics, GPs and Psychiatrists said the policy of detaining children was harmful and must change. They called on the government to adopt a different approach to stop the physical and psychological damage suffered by children.

Two immigration removal centres already exist nearby, at Gatwick. Last year, one of the centres, Tinsley House, was criticised in a report by the Chief Inspector of Prisons, Dame Anne Owers, who said: ‘The arrangements for children and single women were now wholly unacceptable’.

No Borders Brighton will be staging a protest outside Crawley town hall on 25 January at 6.30pm when the plans to convert the Mercure Hotel into a detention centre will go before a committee.

Related links

No Borders Brighton

No Borders

Download a copy of the Intercollegiate Briefing Paper: Significant Harm – the effects of administrative detention on the health of children, young people and their families here (pdf file, 168kb)

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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