Petitions launched for and against Earnley Concourse asylum-seeker plans

Earnley Concourse, which has been empty since December 2011
Earnley Concourse, which has been empty since December 2011

A petition against plans to use Earnley Concourse to house asylum seekers has received more than 1,300 signatures of support in four days.

Scores of people have also lodged official objections to the change of use planning application on Chichester District Council’s website.

Many Earnley residents have voiced their concerns over Home Office plans to house up to 200 male asylum seekers at the site while their housing applications are being processed.

However some are in favour of the move, and a petition has also been set up in support of the proposals, which are subject to planning permission.

A petition under the heading: ‘Say NO!! To the proposed asylum seeker centre at Earnley concourse’ had received 1,331 supporters by Monday afternoon, having been launched on Friday.

It argues: “Putting 200 male asylum seekers aged between 18-39 into a rural village is a ludicrous decision.

“The fact that they are being plucked from camps in Calais where they can legitimately apply for asylum doesn’t make sense.

“Our community doesn’t have the infrastructure to deal with this not to mention the impact on people living nearby.

“This idea needs to be defended by all local residents.”

More than 100 official letters of objection have been submitted to CDC against changing the use of Earnley Concourse to a hostel. There are also letters of support.

Earnley Parish Council has called a public question and answer session at Bracklesham Barn on Thursday, December 17, from 4.30pm to 5.30pm and then 6.30pm to 7.30pm.

As well as being open to the public, the parish council has invited a representative from the Home Office, Clear Spring (contractor who would manage the centre), the district commander of Sussex Police, Stone Harbour (current site managers) and Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie.

A petition has also been set up titled: ‘Support the Earnley Concourse Asylum Centre’.

You can view both petitions below:

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