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HIGH PEAK: Asylum centre plans for town centre thrown out

A bid by the University for a large-scale Asylum Dispersal Centre in Buxton town centre has been defeated by High Peak residents.

Last year, the University  put forward plans to convert High Peak Halls, the old student halls, into a 288-bed Asylum Dispersal Centre.  

This was despite Derbyshire Police saying that the location would be “unsuitable” and that “persons with existing vulnerabilities would be put at risk”. 

High Peak MP Robert Largan launched a campaign against the proposals, with more than 5,000 local residents responding to his survey on the University's plans. 89 per cent of residents opposed the plans.  

 More than 1,400 residents also submitted objections to the University’s formal planning application. 

After Mr Largan raised a number of technical challenges to the application, the University withdrew their application just hours before High Peak councillors were due to vote on the application last summer. 

However, the University of Derby responded by ignoring residents, promising to press ahead with the plans and bring forward a new application for the asylum centre. 

Since last summer, Buxton has been in limbo, not knowing when a fresh application would be submitted. 

Last week, Mr Largan held a meeting with the Immigration Minister, Tom Pursglove, and set out the reasons why Buxton town centre is a completely unsuitable location for a large-scale asylum dispersal centre. 

The Government has now intervened and issued instructions that High Peak Halls must not be used for asylum accommodation.  

The Government have gone even further, issuing instructions that no asylum accommodation be procured anywhere in Buxton town centre. 

Mr  Largan MP said: “The University’s plans for an asylum centre are officially dead. This is a big victory for local people and for common sense!  

“Thank you to everyone who has worked with me in fighting these plans. This has been a combined effort from a huge number of local people from across the High Peak. 

“However, I still want to see High Peak Halls used in a positive way to help local people. I don't just want to see it left empty. I have been pushing for High Peak Halls to be converted into badly needed affordable homes for local people. But I am keen to hear other suggestions for the site, now that the University of Derby need to go back to the drawing board."

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