Permission granted in judicial review challenges to use of former military bases for asylum accommodation

14 Jul 2023

Public Law and Judicial Review

On 14th July 2023, following a two-day permission hearing, Mrs Justice Thornton DBE granted the claimants permission to apply for judicial review in three separate claims challenging decisions by the Secretary of State for the Home Department and the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Two separate claims have been brought by Braintree District Council as local planning authority, and a local resident in relation to the Wethersfield site. A third claim has been brought by West Lindsey District Council as local planning authority in relation to the Scampton site.

The decisions under challenge were taken in relation to the use of sites at the former MDP Wethersfield and RAF Scampton to accommodate asylum seekers pursuant to the Home Secretary’s statutory duties under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

Permission has been granted in relation to grounds challenging (i) the Environmental Impact Assessment, or the Home Secretary’s reliance upon it; (ii) whether the Home Secretary was entitled to rely upon permitted development rights as set out in Schedule 2, Part 19, Class Q of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015, as amended; and (iii) whether the Home Secretary properly complied with the Public Sector Equality Duty under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010.

Mrs Justice Thornton DBE’s permission decision has been reported elsewhere, including in the BBC and the Guardian.

A two-day substantive hearing will take place in due course.

Robin Green, Wayne Beglan and Jack Barber have been instructed by Braintree District Council in relation to their judicial review application.