Page last updated at 21:06 GMT, Tuesday, 6 October 2009 22:06 UK

Demo over immigration unit plan

Brook House
Brook House was opened in March and can house 426 people

A demonstration has been held over plans to turn a four-star hotel at Gatwick Airport into a immigration detention centre.

Arora Management Services has applied for permission to convert the 254-room Mercure Hotel near the airport's north terminal into a secure removal unit.

Campaign group No Borders held a protest inside one of the firm's other hotels, near Heathrow, on Tuesday.

There are currently two immigration detention centres near Gatwick.

Arora Management Services submitted a change of use application to Crawley Borough Council last month.

Obviously it's very profitable to have a visitors here that can't leave because they are not allow to leave
Rosie Young

The owners of the hotel said the current economic climate had caused them to look at a variety of options for a number of their buildings.

It said one option was to turn the Mercure hotel into a detention centre but the planning application it had submitted to Crawley council was "speculative".

Rosie Young, of No Borders, said: "I think it is a pretty sick idea really to turn a place which is supposed to be a place for visitors to come into a removal centre.

"Obviously it's very profitable to have a visitors here that can't leave because they are not allow to leave."

The Home Office said it had no plans to open a third removal unit near Gatwick Airport.

Mercure Hotel at Gatwick Airport

Rosy Young, of No Borders, said a third "prison for migrants" was not needed



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SEE ALSO
Illegal immigrant centre opened
18 Mar 09 |  Sussex
Centre 'unacceptable' for women
27 Aug 08 |  Sussex
Two arrested on immigration march
22 Sep 07 |  Sussex
Protest camp starts near Gatwick
20 Sep 07 |  Sussex
New asylum unit plan for Gatwick
08 Aug 06 |  Southern Counties

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