Northeye Residents Express Outrage Over Asylum Seeker Housing Plan

Locals fear for the safety of elderly and children, demand Home Office reconsider decision

Residents of Northeye in East Sussex are voicing their outrage over the Home Office’s decision to house up to 1,200 asylum seekers, mostly young men, in a disused prison near their homes. Locals, who claim they have been let down by the Home Office and their Tory MP, Huw Merriman, are calling for a reconsideration of the “horrifying” decision, citing concerns for the safety of the elderly and children in the community.

The Northeye complex, a dilapidated prison just off the East Sussex coast, has been selected by ministers to accommodate migrants currently residing in hotels. The facility, located close to numerous residential homes, is said to be “riddled with asbestos” and lacks local amenities such as shops or pubs. In response to the announcement, residents have staged multiple protests, with 500 people gathering outside the site after learning of the plans late last month.


Elderly locals and families with young children are particularly alarmed by the prospect of so many young men being housed nearby with nothing to do. Pauline Wicking, a 77-year-old resident, expressed concerns about the potential impact on the town, which is home to many retired individuals. Mike Reynolds, also 77, highlighted the disproportion of the incoming population, stating that the “invasion of 1,200 young males represents one in six of the total existing young men in Bexhill.”

Residents are also frustrated by the lack of communication from authorities. Graham Casselden criticised the fact that locals were not informed prior to the decision becoming public, while Sarah Dyer, a 50-year-old resident whose home is adjacent to the Northeye complex, described her community’s horror and lack of information.

MP Huw Merriman has promised to work closely with the government to reassure residents, while Tamsin Baxter of the Refugee Council charity argues that the use of former prisons could be avoided if asylum cases were processed in a timely manner. As the debate continues, Northeye residents remain steadfast in their opposition to the asylum seeker housing plan, fearing for the safety and well-being of their community.

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