The Lilycross Care Centre, which is located in Widnes, Cheshire, is set to become an asylum centre and will be housing up to 120 refugees. The decision was taken by the local council, even though the centre is located in the green belt and about 600 metres from high-end homes.
It is believed that this will be the first of the many “super asylums” that the Government intends to set up to screen the rising number of immigrants. Private security contractor Serco has received approval from the Government to set up such centres.
Residents were informed in August 2016 that Lilycross Homes Ltd, the owner of the former Lilycross care home, had submitted an application to transform the structure into a housing centre for refugees. The refugees will live there for a period of four weeks until the Home Office screens their applications and finds them more suitable permanent dwelling.
This resulted in residents protesting outside the Lilycross building, and a campaign backed up by UKIP started circulating on social media. However, Halton Borough Council went ahead and approved the plans.
While locals are worried about safety and security with unassessed refugees living in their midst, a council spokesperson stated that the Development Control Committee had carefully considered all aspects before approving the plan to set up the asylum.
The asylum seekers, mostly from Syria, will be housed on three floors. The centre will have separate holding areas for families, single females and single males. In addition, it will have restaurants, recreation areas, play areas for children, communal areas and offices.
Serco is one of the three security contractors hired by the UK Government to house the large number of asylum seekers who are coming to the UK. The other two contractors are G4S and Clearsprings.
Halton Borough Council stated that Serco runs similar facilities across the country and therefore has the experience and resources to operate the Lilycross centre successfully.