"Because the asylum seeker accommodation camp is in a residential area, Northeye will encourage integration - something we surely all want?"

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Letter from: Pete McLaren, New Winchelsea Road, Rye

I live in Rye and I welcome asylum seekers and all migrants to our shores, just as I welcome the opportunities British people have to live and/or work abroad. Asylum is a right guaranteed under international law, and in a country of their choice, despite Tory government attempts to undermine that.

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Asylum seekers have fled war or persecution, and would not be here if they were not desperate. Everywhere in the UK should take its proportional share of asylum seekers and welcome them into our communities. Central government resources should be sent to the areas chosen to house asylum seekers so that local services are no further stretched. That is a political decision Governments can take if they also welcomed asylum seekers - this present Government clearly does not. They seem to have forgotten that immigrants in the long term contribute more to a community’s economy than they take out. The money is there.

The Northeye site in Bexhill had been selected to accommodate asylum seekersThe Northeye site in Bexhill had been selected to accommodate asylum seekers
The Northeye site in Bexhill had been selected to accommodate asylum seekers

I am concerned that this petition states “This area is unsuitable due to it being in a residential area, and also Bexhill is a seaside resort and small town and this sort of development is not in keeping with the area”. To me that is nonsense. Is a prison or as military facility more ‘in keeping with the area’? That is what Northeye in Bexhill was. Then fact that Bexhill is a small town and a seaside resort is totally irrelevant, although I would agree that the population of an area should be a determinant of the proportion of asylum seekers housed within it. Being in a residential area will encourage integration, something we surely all want?

The only question I have is whether a former prison and RAF Mobile Radio Unit is a suitable place for asylum seekers to be housed in, particularly if children will be involved. That apart, East Sussex should welcome it’s fair proportion of asylum seekers. We must stop demonising asylum seekers and welcome them instead.

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