Opponents of plans to reopen an immigration removal centre vowed to fight on despite a new planning application being submitted to redevelop the site.

Campsfield House in Kidlington, could reopen late next year to house up to 400 male detainees plus 400 staff once operational.

Last summer the Ministry of Justice applied to Cherwell District Council for permission to demolish temporary buildings including a cell block, faith building and plant room.

Oxford Mail:

Last week a planning application was submitted for an extension to a current changing room.

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Emma Jones said: “The Coalition to Keep Campsfield Closed is not surprised but deeply disappointed by this latest planning application, which disregards the widespread local opposition to the proposed reopening of the detention centre.

"Immigration detention is cruel, ineffective, and costly, and Campsfield House had a notorious reputation during its 25 years of operation.

"In a democracy, it should be noteworthy that both the local MP, Layla Moran and Oxfordshire County Council strongly oppose the reopening of Campsfield.

"The strength of local feeling was evident at last November's rally, which was attended by many local people.

"This sentiment was further demonstrated through an open letter signed by 140-plus Oxford University academics and student bodies in June.

"Additionally, a petition against the reopening has received support from 1,139 people to date.

"Our fight to keep Campsfield closed continues."

Campsfield House operated as an immigration removal centre for 25 years but was shut down in 2018 after years of problems, including riots and fires, hunger strikes, escapes and a suicide.

In June 2022, the Home Office announced that it could be redeveloped after a refurbishment costing £227million.

Oxford Mail: Protest in November 2023

It said it will provide a mixture of refurbished and new-build accommodation "and will provide safe, secure and fit for purpose accommodation for people in detention".

Oxford West and Abingdon MP Ms Moran has joined protesters at the site and tabled a motion in parliament in July 2022 fighting plans to reopen the centre.

Oxford City Council has publicly opposed the reopening, saying it would be 'inhumane'.

In October 2022 Green councillor Ian Middleton tabled a motion at Oxfordshire County Council asking councillors to ask leader Liz Leffman to write to the Home Office and urge it to ditch its plan.

Twenty-seven councillors voted in favour while eight opposed it.

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Last November more than 50 protesters gathered at the site calling for a halt to the reopening after the Supreme Court ruled the government's Rwanda asylum policy unlawful.

The demonstration was organised by the Coalition to Keep Campsfield Closed and Oxford Student Action for Refugees.

In June 2023 an open letter signed by over 140 academics and student bodies was published calling upon the Home Office to scrap the plans.

A petition set up by a refugee and a carer for social services, who was detained at Campsfield House between 1993 and 2018, has 1,139 signatures.
The Home Office has been contacted.