More that 200 protesters took part in a candlelit vigil last
Saturday in opposition to the proposal for a new asylum centre
near Oxford. The complex is intended to house 750 asylum seekers and will
be built on land between Arncott and Piddington. The High Court
rejected an appeal against the construction of the centre in
March. The vigil was organised by the Bicester Action group and was
supported by the Conservative MP for Banbury, Tony Baldry, who
has been a dedicated opponent of the plans. He claims, “The
idea of fitting asylum seekers into the Oxford countryside is a
crazy policy.” If it is built, the complex will become the temporary home of
an estimated 400 single men, 50 single women and 300 family
members, while they await a verdict on whether they can stay in
the country permanently. Although the centre is theoretically self-sufficient,
residents are free to leave and return as they please. This has
led to apprehension among locals.ARCHIVE: 2nd week TT 2004