The Home Office has now advised that it will not proceed with the proposals to establish a temporary asylum centre for up to 500 adults on currently uninhabited Ministry of Defence land near the village.
In December, the County Council set out its concerns and opposition to the proposals, in a letter to Immigration Minister, Chris Philp – citing that the site was not habitable or safe. There were potential concerns around contaminated land and nitrate pollution; a lack of suitable utilities; and no local transport links to nearby Andover, Winchester or Basingstoke – which would have hindered the ability of the site’s inhabitants to integrate fully into society and forcing people to potentially navigate busy and dangerous roads by foot.
Barton Stacey has a population of around 1,000 residents. Had the proposals gone ahead, the site would have potentially increased the local population by up to 40% - impacting the existing community and requiring support to both people seeking asylum, and current residents, to safeguard community cohesion.
Hampshire County Council Chief Executive, John Coughlan said: “Anyone seeking asylum in this country should be provided with the right opportunities and facilities, in order for their claim to be properly assessed. Along with other local partners, we were concerned about the suitability of this site and so we welcome this further decision.”