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August, 2003
Have your say on the asylum centre
A sign opposing the asylum centre in Bicester
A sign opposing the asylum centre in Bicester.

What do you think of the planned asylum accommodation centre at Bicester?

Have your say....


SEE ALSO


Read about the public inquiry on the asylum seeker centre
.

Your questions answered on the asylum seeker centre.

See the catalogue of TV pieces about the asylum seeker centre.


FACTS

What is the Bicester Action Group?

The Bicester Action Group is made up of residents in the surrounding villages to the proposed asylum centre. They are led by Dionne Arrowsmith and Sue Baxter.

The group believes that the asylum centres should be smaller and in urban areas where service support facilities already exist.

The Bicester Action Group wants to be seen as the "voice of the people" - representing the fears, wishes and considerations that affect the local people.

What is Bicester Refugee Support?

Bicester Refugee Support was formed to put forward pro-refugee views about the proposed asylum seeker accommodation centre in Bicester.

Bicester Refugee Support welcomes asylum seekers and refugees to Bicester but believes that the size, location and regime of the proposed centre are inappropriate for their needs.

Bicester Refugee Support is working closely with Asylum Welcome to make a joint submission to oppose the accommodation centre in the public inquiry.


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Kathy W
The immigrant situation in this country is out of control and this government closes its eyes to the problem. We do not have the infrastructure to sustain a neverending influx of immigrants and sticking them out in the country where there are even less amenities is neither good for the immigrants or the residents. The sooner Prescott and Blair are ousted the better. After the Hutton Enquiry I had no faith in the judicial system who simply defer to this useless government.

Daniel W
Although it is a nice suggestion to 'sort them out after we sort ourselves out', i can only remind all that we are a very materialistic and selfish nation, we cannot carry on like we do today forever, Our gain countries economic strength is largely due to very unfair world trade law's. Asylum Seekers and Refugee's - welcome to the World!

m e
I think that it isn't fair to have the asylum centre here, I really feel that it should be centred around Prescotts house, that way he will have some idea what other people are going through. Time to stop immigration and asylum, after all they have to come across many countries to get here and we are only a little island. We are becoming so crowded and when there is a shortage of jobs people will turn, and then violence will errupt and that can't be good for anyone.

Lynn
What is the point of this country taking in so many immigrants,asylum seekers or otherwise,when we can't look after our own first? It sickens me to hear people being dismissed as racist because they have concerns about the mass influx into our country. How can these people assimilate into Britian when so many of them come in in their thousands? It's about time the British public put their foot down about this and demonstrated or something.The situation can't be allowed to continue in this way.

Ponte
This whole country is rapidly going down the pan. The British people of this country will soon be losing their own identity as British!!because the whole sub-island of (great britain?)will become one "GreatBritain" for asylum seekers!!

Jodie(born, raised USA)
Why can't people just stay in their own countries and work on making them better places to live, instead of just blowing and screwing other peoples countries? I feel sorry for the people of Bicester. the grass is always greener I guess. I wish my ancesters had stayed in Ireland cause thats where I would now be.

James - student
We live in a society ruled by the opinions of Murdoch. We live in a society where Rascism is accepted as 'protecting our own'. This society stinks. It's time the people of Bicester and England opened thier eyes to a problem that isn't going to go away by shouting at it. Crime exisited before asylum, social grievances existed before asylum. The Eglish and in particular residents of Bicester need to open their eyes and understand that 'these people' are not 'coming in' to take away money from other schemes. They are looking for help, support and refuge. We should be proud that they choose us. Those AS that go against the sytem and brake the laws should and will be dealt with, the same as any other person should. Lets give them a legitimate chance and leave pointless, uniformed NIMBY racism behaind us.

samina
I dont believe detaining asylum children is the best option as I believe they have suffered enough.

Mr Alexander
It's an absolute discrace and an appalling waste of tax payers money. The money should be spent on helping these other countries out, fixing their broken infrastructures so they can remain in there own countries.

Sharon Hunt (now in the USA)
Too many illegal immigrants in the UK (period). I watch from afar & it sickens me to see England destroyed. It will never work !! One day I want to come back but to what , what will be left ? What is the government thinking of, what about the anglo natives problems ???? Surely Blair and Prescott need to be replaced quickly before its too late.

Peter
Yet another example of unbelievable pigheadedness by Blair, Prescott and their cronies. They know they have got this wrong but (again) are too arrogant to admit it. They lie, hide the truth and manipulate statistics to their own ends. Genuine asylum seekers will be demonised and victimised, local people are having their lives destroyed as a result of this apalling policy. Segregation of this kind is the worst possible answer. Shame on you Prescott. By his own admission this is just the start-everybody should stand up and fight this injustice in anyway they can before it causes irreversable harm to the society we live in

Tom H
It should be remembered that organised crime is behind the influx of illegal immigrants and the British people are being forced to accept it -- against their will. The sad thing is, that this government, is not listening. This is politically dangerous and could lead to civil disobedience. More dangerous could see the rise of the far right--remember Le Penn!! As a much older person who has lived through all the post-war governments this has to be the worst. Their record is appalling--the result I fear of having a very large majority.

Raymond
Laura – I think you are being deliberately obtuse. How will the occupants be alienated? They are free to roam at will – which is one of the concerns of the residents nearest to this development. Why not read the comments on the page again? I think you will find the ire of the correspondents is aimed at the government not the potential occupants. The fact that the infrastructure of this country is close to total chaos and that this is being ignored by the government is one of the chief motivators of these comments – not xenophobia as you claim. How can we hope to deal with the influx of these people when we can not even cater for those already here? Why is it that each year we pay increased taxes in one guise or another yet receive less each year? The fact that we are told there is no money for national or local sevices then to be presented with spending figures over hundreds of millions of pounds to provide something which will be of no benefit to the general public – this is just another Millennium Dome fiasco.

Stephen
Can't we look after our own homeless first before taking on other countries homeless? I wonder how many years it will take before this government realises that multi-cultural societies don’t work.

Laura
Raymond - personally I've never been to a leisure centre where you are placed in the countryside and forced to live alienated from the rest of society.

Laura
The asylum centre in Bicester is a terrible idea -both local residents and refugee support organisations alike are against it. In this light how can it ever be an effective solution? It's quite disturbing here to see how the proposal is provoking such xenophobic feelings. I think a lot of the respondents below are missing the point - can they not see that the asylum seeker residents of this centre will be stigmatised enough without being held responsible by them for this development? It is the government overruling our views that we need to hold responsible.

Karen Smith
My husband and I were due to move to a house in Marsh Gibbon (as soon as our house has been sold) but we are now having serious doubts about the move. In fact, it is a certainty that we will chose to find a different area now, in light of this news. What is the Government thinking ? As long as it's not on their doorsteps, they don't care about the impact that it's going to have on Bicester's community.

Laurie Blackthorn
Prescott agrees with 50% of the findings of the inquiry. No-one should have so much power as to ride roughshod over the opinions of experts, massive public opinion and costly public enquiries.

Danny Birdseye
I know its hard to take but at least it will create a few more jobs for the people of bicester

Raymond
What do I mean by 'leisure centre'? This establishment will cost approximately £100 million, it will be equipped with recreational facilities i.e. a sports and health complex. It will also have its own educational facilities, a dedicated health service and clinic. None of which the 'residents' will be expected to pay for. On top of this they will be given money to spend on 'necessities'. If this does not sound like a leisure centre I don't know what does.

Brad Harding
While we appreciate the advice to batten down the hatches from your property expert, I would respectfully point out that we have been doing just that for the past 14 months. While my family and our fellow villagers accept that centres like these will have to exist, we find it impossible to believe that the government can wipe out the equity of people's lifetime investments in property, force people to stay in a village where they cannot sell, cannot take career opportunities offered elsewhere to them because they have become 'financial prisoners'. All of this with absolutely no offer of financial compensation to the villagers in this area whose property prices have been devastated. In the meantime, the only buyer we have had has aborted our deal and we are forced to continue to service a mortgage which is higher than our property is worth and put our lives on hold so that John Prescott and his cronies continue to bumble on their aslyum policy.

John Graham
Sadly, Democracy is dead in this country as long as Labour is in power. It is reprehensible that the Deputy Prime Minister should over-rule the enquiry findings However, sadly, that is the state of the political parties in this country. Does no one learn from our history and remember how the far right parties came to power in the last few decades. This is typical of Labour who used to shout about the nanny state when the Tories were in power but are now being dictatorial themselves. No wonder people are emigrating.

Sue Baxter Bicester Action Group
Well done, Blunkett and Prescott (B'N'P?) you've just done the far right's job for them: you've exiled 750 people at any one time to isolation and segregation by your policy, quoted at the Inquiry, of positively discouraging integration; you've submitted the small indigenous population, who have a long history of welcoming refugees into their community in numbers with which they can cope and who have been encouraged to become part of the community, to daily anxiety and unrest by the sheer numbers within and without the centre and the way in which they have to live their daily lives, of a dependant, transient population on their doorsteps. And finally, B and P, you have continued the erosion of the democratic process by riding roughshod over the recommendations of the independant inspector presiding over the Inquiry and by renaging on the promise made by Minister Hughes on 5 November to abide by that recommendation.

John Ammundsen (Abingdon)
This is just the start of the problems mass uncontrolled immigration will impose on British society. It is even more worrying that politicians repeatedly try to hide the real figures. These individuals may well be experiencing difficulties in their homelands, but unfortunately the time for welcoming the 'huddled masses' has long gone. Only the UK is dumb enough not to realise it.

George from Banbury
Where has Andrew Smith M.P gone to ground Get Your ferrets out Then ask him to be truthful and will he try at least to have democracy work in our County

Carl
Ultimately I'm against an Asylum centre in Bicester or anywhere else in this country for that matter. The system is hopelessy flawed and is open to such levels of abuse, it's more or less an anarchy. Despite all the do-gooders telling us they are desparate normal people deprived of a chance in life, I say that more often they are not. It was only 18 months ago another detention centre got burnt down by so called 'helpless people'. You can conceptualise the asylum system in any which way you like. The do-gooder view is just as valid as a xenophobic. There aren't any facts to either argument - just feelings. And it's feelings that run high.

Kath
These people are in this country illegally – living free of charge on our money that we have worked hard for – most of them have no intention of working and no intention of living by the English cultures – at best they will settle here, drain our resources and then over time bring more of there families and friend into the country illegally If we wish to live in another country we have to go to great length to prove ourselves, that we have sufficient income to support ourselves, a secure job, and also gain a sponsor, and then live by the cultures and standards of the country we chose to live in The sooner they stop all illegal immigrants coming to this country and make those return to where they came from the better off we will be

Matilda Cooper
A "leisure centre"?!! What is Raymond talking about?!

Raymond
What is all this claptrap about 'integrating with the local community'? We have so-called asylum seekers living near us, they do not integrate - they are uncivil and hostile, they make no effort to adapt to a British way of life. They drive untaxed, uninsured vehicles for which they probably have no licence to operate. Why are we continually fleeced by the government of our earnings to fund those who have not made (and will not make) any positive contribution to our country or society. To all those who want to live beside these people I suggest you move to Nigeria, Kosovo, Iran or where ever you would feel more 'integrated'. On another point, I understood the purpose of these centres was to stop these people vanishing – yet they will not be monitored, this establishment is just a huge leisure centre for them to return as and when they see fit. This government is a disgrace!

Terry
All those who are quick to criticise those against this centre please name me one organisation that deal with asylum seekers, who have not condemmed the proposal???

Paul. Oxford
Listening to the comments concerning the Asylum Centre I find the racism depressing. Some seems to be based upon hatred while most seems to be based on misconceptions and fear. Suggest people look at the refugee council web site for reliable information and not rely on the likes of the Sun, Mail, Star papers. Crime is one fear and is incorrect. A report by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) says that there is no evidence of a higher rate of criminality amoung asylum seekers and they are in fact more likely to be victims of crime.If destitute and have claimed asylum on entering the country they are entitled to a maximum of 70% of the basic income support. Very few are aware of welfare in this country and come because of family and friend ties, links to our old Empire and language. How mny from French speaking countries come here? As for cost to this country asylum seekers made a fiscal gain of 2.5 billion pounds to the UK economy. If they were allowed to work they would also contribute even more and do the jobs we need people for. We are hearing the same misinformed racist rubbish based on fear. People need to get the facts, not what friends tell them in the pub, and meet some asylum seekers.

Mark,Bicester
Contrary to Toby,as a Bicester resident i do not wish to live in a multicultural community.Having lived in London and surrey i have experienced the trouble this brings. I would like to know what compensation will be paid to homeowners for the reduction in property values(Piddington is down 25% this year already).The agreed sale on my friends property fell through yesterday as a direct result of this announcement

Toby, Bicester
I think Mr Prescott needs to be congratulated for making a brave decision. He truely was caught between a rock and a hard place, damned if he did, and damned if he didn't. It is not as if the site is truely remote and isolated, Bicester has very good communication links, and the proximity to a major MOD facility should improve security no end. I hope that the poor asylum seekers will stay around Bicester when they get approval to stay. I would like to live in a multicultural community, the asylum seekers should enrich our own culture and open our eyes to other wonderfull things. Just look at all the different cuisines we already have access to. God bless all the asylum seekers, and may they feel truely welcome in Bicester, I hope that i will be able to extend the hand of freindship to them at their most difficult hours.

charlotte
i only hope that the people of Bicester are not hostile towards the people staying at the centre. some of the comments made here are worrying!

ian judge
It is quite sickening to see the local politicians of all parties condemning the asylum centre while supporting mass immigration. What a bunch of hypocrites.

Paula Evans
I am appalled at the views that I have heard expressed. Just because we happen to have been born here we do not have a God given right to live in this country. I lived in Africa for many years and will never cease to be grateful for being born British, and in this country. So I believe we should be prepared to show more humanity to those less fortunate. However, it would be preferable for these people to be integrated rather than forced to live in isolation.

Sean
Why do you call 'asylum seekers' They are illegal immigrants abusing a system. Sort out this with a proper immigration policy and you won't have to build these places anywhere. They just cause fear and are unjust to local people.

Darrell
I live in Sittingbourne in Kent and we were earmarked for a reception centre last year - that was fought off. Hopefully the people of Oxfordshire will do the same. We were branded as racist for our views too - it seems to be a handy crutch for do gooders to label people who speak our as such. Maybe these people shoudl try to justify how these people come all the way across Europe or parts of Africa in order to claim asylum here. Sort out Britain and the British first! That isnt racist - it's common sense. Something that this country seems to have lost in the last few years!

Derek
I worry about the women and children the most - won't they be at risk?

Ian H Thain
The sensible thing is to use this opportunity to GET Bicester the extra facilities the town needs. A helpful attitude and some astute bargaining could achieve a lot for the area.

P Clarke
As a resident of Arncott, I think it's appalling our money will be spent on this centre, when we have to raise our own funds to pay for the replacement of the 2 playgrounds in Arncott that have been condemned

Julia
This country is no longer a democracy.

Ian of Bicester
So despite the proposal being refused planning permission and recommendations from a public inquiry against the site, the government still decided to go ahead.

ROBERT BRYANT
Bicester can't cope with the extra people. The public inquiry said NO so why has it been overturned? Do we not have a say anymore Mr Blair?

tom
It makes me ashamed to see all these locals attempting to come up with justifications to deny these people a place to stay. Having lived near an army camp I can assure you that they will be better behaved than the army lads. Old army buildings seem a very sensible place to put this sort of building. Shame the locals have wasted all that money fighting it rather than putting it to some constructive use.

Andy B
I feel very angry that Prescott and the rest of our so called Democratic Government has ridden roughshot over the views of the local people, government, action groups and a public inquiry. Maybe they thought this news would be hidden by the Hutton Enquiry but it was not. Everybody opposed to this crazy scheme should feel very let down and angry by the government.

David@Bicester
Don't accuse those of us who live in Bicster as being NIMBY's or racists - we are not. We just are appalled that Prescott can impose the Government's will against the findings of an independent inquiry. Bicester is unable to cope for its own citizens - leisure facilities are poor/non existent and the town needs better facilities such as a cottage hospital.

Caren
Bicester's been told we can't have a larger supermarket, a cinema, a childrens warehouse/playcentre was turned down, and there's not enough sports facilities. Bicester gets more houses, not enough teachers & school places, and healthcare's under pressure.

Derek Finlay
This decision is disgraceful. The labour goverment has taken a decison against all advice and has overridden the recommendation of a Public Inquiry. Clearly the government feel they can bulldoze this through without any chance of losing a seat at the next election.

Adam Blackwell
How can John Prescott pledge that he is part of a democratic government, when he overrides a public opinion and result of a public debate?

Kathryn
I live in Bicester, unlike many of your correspondents, and I have no worries about this at all. I do think Bicester North station will probably have to look at security.

Ian H Thain
I suppose it was too much to expect either Tony Baldry or Cherwell District Council to recognise an opportunity when they saw one. Instead of whining and grumbling about it all, how about showing some spark of entrepreneurial initiative? A lot of new cash could find its way into our local economy IF ONLY we had local representatives who were sufficiently smart to think of that and sufficiently bright to devise ways of helping the government instead of obstructing it. I'm up for it. Who is ready to join me?

Pete C.
Oxfordshire is a beautiful area, visted regularly by oneself and friends. To think that a politician is going to set up camp for these people is a real blow to the area.

Rob
Knowing how this government performs, I think this was a foregone conclusion anyway, despite the evidence against the centre, so I was not surprised by this decision. I am still outraged by Prescott who has completely disregarded all the objections by the local authority and resident groups locally! We know who NOT to vote for next time, don't we!

T.S
I believe the main anger is directed at the Government and the Home Office who promised to abide by the decision of the Planning Inspectorate

Russ
I am seriously concerned that we no longer live in a democracy and that the present government are becoming more dictatorial by the day.....Help

Mohammed
I feel this government has now come to the point where it does not take into consideration any views of the public anymore. I also feel that house prices may suffer and if they do suffer then we should be compensated to some extent.

Craig Preedy
This is the decision of someone who is ill informed and cares nothing about feelings and thoughts of people in rural communities. This decison can only have a devastating effect on Bicester and surrounding villages. House prices will suffer. I feel fortunate to have moved away 18 months ago but share the concern of our friends still living in Bicester.

Terry
BICESTER R.I.P. 19/08/03 J.Prescott

Deborah
I lived in Australia for many years. It was revealed that a vast percentage of so called "asylum seekers" were infact queue jumpers for immigration. They held no identity papers, the Australian Government had no idea where they came from and who they were. This can only be bad news for Bicester and Oxfordshire.

thomas@arncott
This goverment needs to get its own affairs in order before we take on other country's problems. First sort out the NHS - I waited four hours in a corridor with my mother on a bed while waiting to be seen by a doctor & they are getting free medicial facilities on site.

Pete and Jane ex Bicester residents
Thank God after three years in Bicester we are now living in Texas in the USA. We are so glad we sold our house before the asylum centre came!!!!! We can't imagine what will happen in Bicester town centre of an evening with lots of single men from other countries thrown into the melting pot!!!!!!I Take a leaf from the American book - people here are much more law abiding and there are plenty of immigrants here plus its in the high nineties all summer if you like hot weather like we do!!!!!!

Simon,Bicester
This ill-conceived plan flies in the face of the council the planning enquiry and common sense. How could a rational responsible government make such a bizarre decision? I hope that the local residents do not have to pay too big a price.

Leo
A dictatorial imposition from a democratically elected government. A sad day for democracy and an arduous decision for all.

Karen from Bicester
I hear that the Minor Injuries Unit in Bicester is shortly due to close because they cannot afford to run it. It seems that this Government does not care about facilities for the residents of Bicester, but are quite happy to go ahead with this Asylum Centre even after the Planning Inspector has not recommended it!!!!

Simon
These people are legally entitled to legal representation in their own language to help their process... where will they find that service in the countryside? The genuine asylum seekers deserve good support and not to feel isolated in these camps. They will conform, but the illegals won't, they will run. People deserve good support and this is not the answer. What was the point of an independent enquiry if it is ignored?

Matilda Cooper
It constantly amazes me how wrapped up in themselves people become. Just because people don't want mud on THEIR doorstep. These humans are in desperate need of help- where is the compassion? I understand the inhabitants of Bicester's annoyance that they feel ignored by the government, but first hand help for asylum seekers must begin somewhere.

Sally Kerr
These people will have shelter, food, health care and education whereas there are many, many needy people in this country who are not provided with any of these things. They have contributed nothing to this country and those of us who have worked hard just see our labours being given away to these so called asylum seekers.

Ben Truby
I think it's disgusting that the goverment allow it.

Lamb
This goverment does what it wants. It does not listen to anybody. It's about time they did. People should stand up and be counted but we are to apathetic. We should take a leaf out of the way the French would have reacted.

Ben
Today's government decision on the Bicester Assylun Centre has finally convinced me of what I've always suspected: The government WANTS us to hate immigrants! It's part of a deliberate plan of provocation. That's why they give them privileges. Why? To divide and rule us. When we're scared, angry and insecure we're putty in their hands! So don't hate assylum seekers, but welcome them with open arms. Why fall for the government's mind trickery?

Donald
As a South African living here, I have paid income tax, national insurance, council tax, road tax and many other taxes that the government has imposed and besides the odd doctor's appointment, I have not claimed any benefits. Although I think we are over taxed, I have paid all in full and will continue to do so as I am very grateful to my host, England. Why can’t they?

Sarah
Bicester is unable to support the people who already live here, we have no entertainment, limited health care and insufficient shopping, how are we supposed to manage with 750 more? Lets face it this government"lost" our hospital money, how can we trust them?

Mrs Leanne McHugh
I live in Arncott and I am furious that the plans are to go ahead. Do the goverment not listen to any advice that is given to them? We are a quiet village with no amenities for local people let alone 750 unwanted asylum seekers. House our own people first and if this country has so much spare cash give it to our needy.

Andy Swadling Bicester
What an inappropriate place to locate an asylum centre in among a rural community that lacks ammentites and legal facilities such people will depend on for their futures. The government will not listen to anybody and we all know how much not to trust them after recent events.

TJ
I think that the views expressed here by most people are shameful and disgraceful. If I were English, I would be ashamed to be called one. It is astonishing that the Brits think that this country is 'attractive' to foreigners. Yes, I suppose it is, until you get here and hear only xenophobic comments, 'these people are taking our healthcare etc away from us' 'they cause crime' like there was no crime before the advent of asylum seekers.

Anon, ashamed to live in Bicester
Well, I guess the asylum seekers have to be sorted somewhere, and where better than the site between Piddington and Arncott? I think it will help the cultural diversity of Bicester, which has only grown on the back of rich Londoners moving "to the country".

Anon, ashamed to live in Bicester
Oh Dear, oh dear. I never thought that the people of Bicester could be led on by the racist organisations that have sprung up to "fight" the centre. I am absolutely ashamed to admit that I live in Bicester, because I do not want to be perceived as racist or a N.I.M.B.Y. Any way, it's not Bicester, or even Piddington, or even Arncott. Its nearest neighbour is Bullingdon.

Mark R
This is just another example of this Government ignoring the electorate. Proper consultation, a public enquiry that found against the proposal, but Prescott and his lackeys choose to ignore. Democracy, what democracy? Then people wonder why we are no longer welcoming or tolerant off asylum seekers and immigrants.

Andrew Copsey
So, these asylum seekers will not only take over Bicester, increase crime rates, lower house prices but also get free health care and education!!

Anon
I am trying really hard to think of something positive to say about this, but I can't. It's probably bad for the local community - (but the secretary for asylum doesn't agree). Probably bad for the Asylum seakers, yes they need somewhere safe, need their applications processed - great, but surely there are places with better facilities? What they really need is a quick decision. If their application is approved they need a community to move in to, not one which is hostile.

Dave
Lets' hope that they build a new swimming pool, cinema and ice rink as part of the centre. This center is bound to fail and these facilities will exist for Bicester after the AS's have gone

Amanda Sutton
It's really hard to know how to feel about the asylum centre. Despite all our best intentions, house prices will go up and the asylum seekers will feel isolated because they're basically in prison. I think it's a situation forced up on asylum seekers and residents. What can the residents do next?

Adam
Would the closing RAF base at Lynham not be a better place? right next to a city - swindon? - full accomodation and sport facilities..... there's nothing in bicester

Bruce @Bicester
If there is to be a centre here in Oxfordshire then why not use a cheaper option - RAF Upper Heyford for example?

Ernie
Oh god there go the house prices

Bernie
I drove past it the other day and it is in the middle of nowhere. I think that will be a bad thing for the asylum seekers but not for the residents of Bicester.

Here's what people have said in 2002:

quoteYet again the asylum debate descends into a storm of scaremongering and fear.

Asylum seekers have broken no laws, they have done no wrong by coming to this country and there is no evidence that they are more likely to commit crimes than any other member of the public.

Given what many of them have been through (and about 1 in 2 are eventually recognised as refugees) they should be welcomed and treated with fairness and compassion. There are many good reasons why this is an unsuitable site for such a large centre, but fear of asylum seekers is not one of them. quote

Michael Yoong of Oxford

quoteI am a 16 year-old-girl who lives in one of the small villages less than one mile from the planned asylum centre site.

I regularly have to walk near the site after dark to catch buses etc. and I would not feel safe with so many groups of young males around - of any race.

Also there are a lot of young people already in Bicester, with the military in the area this already causes clashes between groups.

Imagine the problems there will be when 'squaddies' and asylum seekers clash! Has no-one thought of the social effects it will have on the young people, increase in violence which is already a problem for many people. quote

Laura, Bicester

quote We are very concerned that the BBC locally is being seen to publicise only one (rather narrow minded) opinion of the community in Bicester, particularly in view of the unpleasant overtones surrounding the debate on the proposed asylum seekers accommodation centre when it was originated by the Bicester Action Group (BAG).

Ed - Please note that our web site now features information on Bicester Refugee Support.

Bicester Refugee Support is in a unique situation in that if, having heard all the evidence, the government persists with plans to open the accommodation centre, Bicester Refugee Support wishes to mobilise local people to provide friendship and support to the asylum seekers. BAG, on the other hand, will be redundant, if the centre goes ahead.quote

Colin Dobson, Bicester Refugee Support

quote It would be completely wrong to site the center in an isolated location. It would cost so much more to run it as staff and facilities are not as available.

There is also the matter of properties being targeted while the residents are away at work. I also have young children whom I fear for their well being.

To add such a large facility that would increase the population of the surrounding villages by such a large proportion would damage the village life, cause resentment and is generally ill conceived. quote
Laurie Welford, Blackthorn

quote Whilst I sympathise with genuine asylum seekers, I do not welcome the "freeloaders" who are only trying to live off the rest of us.

The proposed rural site is not suitable for this kind of development and it will swamp the local villages.

It should be located close to a city where there are already suitable facilities available.

Why not redevelop Campsfield near Kidlington, which is threatened with closure anyway? quote
Rob, Bicester

quoteMy opinion is that asylum seekers should be welcomed into this country.

Who can blame someone for trying to improve their lives?

If some of these people are allowed to stay, their skills we be no end of use in all aspects of our society.quote

Liz Wisbach, near Bicester

quoteThe minority of do gooders are talking at cross purposes about asylum seekers, when what we really mean is 'illegal' immigrants.

People who have flouted British immigration law, ingratiating themselves on our funds and our local resources.

Mr. Blair meanwhile, in a bid to make it look like less of a problem if he spreads them across the country, has failed to strengthen our borders and failed to get to the source of the problem which is a) the attraction for them and b) the means by which they are able to slip easily into this country unnoticed.
quote

Ed, Bicester

The Bicester Action Group claims that;

1. The Bicester community is fearful of the impact the asylum seekers - mostly single males - will have wandering about freely in the villages.

2. The accommodation centre will bring a community the equivalent size of the people of the existing two villages - Arncott and Piddington - combined to the area, effecting services and the local community.

3. Other MOD sites are considered to be potential terrorist targets. An open accommodation centre could provide cover for terrorist organisations and would pose a serious local, regional or national security threat.

4. The centre is in a remote, rural community that provides virtually no opportunity to integrate.

Bicester Refugee Support's aims:

1. To oppose the accommodation centre on humanitarian grounds.

2. To change the tone of debate in Bicester to one more sympathetic towards refugees.

3. To ensure that if the accommodation centre goes ahead, facilities and support are adequate.

4. To involve themselves in voluntary work with asylum seekers if the centre goes ahead.



 

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