SOME residents in Kidlington will be particularly relieved that Campsfield House detention centre is to close.

Earlier this month the Government announced that the 216-bed facility, where detainees are kept until their cases are resolved, will shut after 25 years.

At the weekend protesters gathered outside to lobby for all detention centres to close.

While many residents remained untroubled by the existence of the immigration centre on their doorstep, others have been right in the firing line if anything went wrong.

In the summer of 2007, 26 detainees, convicted criminals, broke out of the Langford Lane centre where they were being held before deportation to their own countries.

All had served prison sentences for a variety of crimes, up to and including robbery.

They fled after a fire was started in a kitchen and police were called in to track them down.

One was apprehended by a resident living nearby who said it was the third time he had found a detainee in his garden.

Kidlington South county councillor Maurice Billington said: “It was a worrying time for everyone in Kidlington when the detainees escaped, although most of the time there has not been any trouble.

“What people are particularly worried about now is what is going to go in Campsfield’s place when it closes.

“The worry for residents is that it will be some other kind of institution and there is a lot of uncertainty about what it is going to be - I don’ think they would actually build homes there.”

In June 2008, seven detainees go away and police were once again called in.

Three were recaptured within hours while a fourth man, a Libyan with a criminal record for minor assault was recaptured in the Botanical Garden in Oxford.

On November 25, 1993, the first minibus of immigration detainees arrived from Harmondsworth, close to London’s Heathrow Airport.

Before then, Campsfield had been a youth detention centre.

The Campaign to Close Campsfield was launched in 1994 and has been holding monthly demonstrations ever since.

Oxford East MP Anneliese Dodds said she was concerned for the welfare of detainees after they move out.