Page last updated at 16:00 GMT, Friday, 24 October 2008 17:00 UK

Immigration removal plan revealed

artists impression of proposed IRC
The proposed removal centre is based on a prison design

Detailed proposals for a secure immigration removal centre in Oxfordshire have been unveiled.

The new detention centre would house failed asylum seekers and illegal immigrants awaiting deportation.

The proposed site is ex-military land near Bullingdon prison, Bicester, where the government tried to build an immigrant accommodation centre.

The public are being invited to give their views on the proposals which are on show at Arncott village hall.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) said the Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) at Bullingdon was a critical part of plans to speed up the removal of illegal immigrants, failed asylum seekers and others who come to the UK and "break the rules".

Locked up

The IRC would be almost four times the size of Oxfordshire's other detention centre - Campsfield House in Kidlington - housing up to 800 men.

If approved it would provide almost 500 jobs with staff working eight-hour shifts, around the clock.

I think it should be in someone else's back garden, not ours
Local resident

It would be designed and secured to the same standard as a Category C prison, so detainees would be locked inside.

Previous proposals for an open accommodation centre, where asylum seekers would have been free to come and go, caused an outcry among people living in the surrounding area.

A huge campaign against it followed and the plans were abandoned three years ago.

The new proposals are on display on Friday and Saturday.

"I don't like the idea," said one woman who has been to see the plans.

"I think it should be in someone else's back garden, not ours."

Another man said: "I'm reasonably impressed. I think once the trees have grown up it'll be pretty well hidden and people will forget all about it, just as they do with Bullingdon."

A detailed planning application will be submitted to Cherwell District Council later this year.

MP welcomes asylum unit rethink
21 Mar 06 |  Oxfordshire
Bicester asylum centre plan axed
14 Jun 05 |  UK Politics
Q&A: Bicester asylum centre
06 Apr 04 |  Oxfordshire
Protest against asylum centre
31 Aug 02 |  England

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