Centre at Thornton Heath being branded as detention centre without barbed wire"
22nd March 2011: Charity workers have raised serious concerns over conditions failed asylum-seekers will be forced to live in at a new residential centre in Thornton Heath. It has already been branded as a "detention centre without barbed wire".
The Charity workers have, in fact, expressed anxiety on the conditions the families at Brigstock House will encounter. The concerns include the size of the rooms and the level of privacy.
They have also raised concerns on the openness of the facility. Sarah Campbell from charity Bail for Immigration Detainees says the families must sign in and out. Besides this, the building has a 24-hour reception desk with CCTV cameras.
The charity works with asylum-seekers and migrants to secure their release from detention.
Campbell told the Advertiser they were concerned this would cause distress and disruption to families, and could replicate some of the harm caused to children by detention.
If families currently receiving asylum support refused to move to this accommodation they would be made destitute.
Campbell asserted asylum seekers in the facility were not given any cash support. As such, they could not leave the open centre, even to visit their lawyers.
The assertion comes soon after the Government announced that Families of failed asylum seekers held in new centres will be free to move around the site. The security will be minimalist and the centres will not have an institutional feel.
The families are expected to move into the centre in Brigstock Road within days.
A UK Border Agency spokesman, on the other hand, said the accommodation in Thornton Heath would not be refurbished, but was suitable for the short term accommodation of families who are due to leave the country imminently.
Most would stay there only a matter of days, but during that time they will be free to come and go, and will have access to healthcare and local community facilities.