COUNCIL bosses who argued Government plans to use land on disused airfields to house asylum seekers should be quashed have lost a High Court fight.

In July, Braintree Council was given permission to pursue a judicial review to challenge the Home Office’s use of RAF Wethersfield to house up to 1,700 asylum seekers.

The permission to proceed was given by Mrs Justice Thornton, to challenge the Home Office’s reliance on the use of permitted development rights and the environmental impact assessment screening direction, as well as their compliance with equality regulations.

The case took place at the High Court over a two-day hearing on Tuesday, October 31, and Wednesday, November 1, in which the council pursued to challenge the Home Office in their decision to use the site.

Legal representatives for both Braintree Council and individual claimants as well as Wethersfield resident Gabriel Clarke-Holland.

Mrs Justice Thornton considered arguments from both Braintree Council and the Home Office, alongside the resident from Wethersfield and West Lindsey District Council for the RAF Scampton site.

However, the High Court in London has ruled against the council today, Wednesday, November 6.

The council expressed its disappointment at the decision.

Thurrock Gazette: Braintree Council leader Graham ButlandBraintree Council leader Graham Butland (Image: N/A)

Braintree Council leader Graham Butland said: “We have worked since March to make a strong case to the court that the Home Office acted unlawfully when making the decision to use RAF Wethersfield to house asylum seekers.

"We are of course disappointed with this outcome after months of work to present our case and evidence as we still believe it isn’t an appropriate site for a development of this scale given its remote location and the lack of capacity in local services.

"It was important for us to challenge this decision but we have to respect the judgement of the court and I am grateful for the support of residents, MP’s, businesses and communities throughout the process.

"Whilst we have initially appealed the decision, we will take some time to reflect on the decision and consider the council’s position.

"Meanwhile we will continue with our duty of care to support asylum seekers on site and helping to minimise impact on our local communities whilst the site is being utilised for this purpose.”

Braintree Council has requested permission from the High Court to appeal the decision and awaits to hear more if this is granted or not