BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: England  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Thursday, 24 October, 2002, 13:37 GMT 14:37 UK
Minister visits fire-hit asylum centre
Yarl's Wood on fire
The centre was partly destroyed in the fire in February
The immigration minister has said she is determined Bedfordshire taxpayers should not foot the bill for the damage caused to the Yarl's Wood detention centre.

Beverley Hughes was speaking to councillors and MPs during a visit to the asylum centre, badly damaged in a fire in February.

The county's police force is currently facing a multi-million pound insurance claim made under the 1886 Riot Damages Act, by which police can be held liable for damage caused during civil disturbances.

Ms Hughes also said sprinklers would be installed next month in an undamaged block, which would reopen next April.

Local agreement

Patrick Hall, the Labour MP for Bedford and Kempston, said it had been a useful meeting.

"I'm very pleased the minister confirmed the home secretary's earlier position that Bedfordshire Police Service would not be burdened with the outcome of the cost of putting Yarl's Wood right, so that's a very important point.

"The other important point established today is that there would be greater efforts to consult fully with local people and local councils so that the future of Yarl's Wood takes place with full local knowledge and agreement."

The minister's visit was marked by a demonstration held by the Campaign Against Arbitrary Detention at Yarl's Wood.

Flagship centre

Viv Smith said protestors were disappointed ministers had ignored their suggestions.

"I think the government is terrified that the biggest detention centre in Europe, which is really a flagship, has failed.

"We've raised lists of very good and quite positive questions that could take us all forward."

The Home Office is still considering the future of the 900-bed centre, believed to be the largest in Europe before the fire.

On Wednesday, Bedfordshire county councillor Tom Foster suggested the undamaged block - which has 450 beds - be used to house local homeless people through the winter.


Click here to go to BBC Beds, Herts and Bucks
See also:

03 Apr 02 | England
17 Feb 02 | England
15 Feb 02 | England
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes