A British university has been forced to withdraw plans to commercially rent out its student accommodation in a small town to asylum seekers after over 1,400 objections to the planning application were submitted by local residents.
The University of Derby had applied to rent out the 274-room High Peak Halls building in the spa town of Buxton to a third party, with the expectation the rooms would then be occupied by migrants new to Britain.
However, mass demonstrations from local residents opposed to the plans saw the application withdrawn just two hours before the local council was due to vote on the matter.
Around 1,400 complaints were filed by those who expressed concern about introducing nearly 300 adult male asylum seekers to the small English town, while just 14 letters of support for the plans were submitted.
Hundreds gathered outside Buxton Methodist Church on Monday ahead of the local council vote to demonstrate, holding banners that read “Buxton says ‘No’” and “House Our Homeless First.”
The town has a population of around 20,000, as per the 2021 census.
One mother, accompanied by her 8-year-old girl, told a local reporter she was against the plans out of a desire to protect her children.
“My concern is that these people coming to this country have different views on how to treat women and children. I don’t want my child to be unsafe or grow up in a neighborhood where she feels that this is acceptable,” she said.
— MichatorMedia (@MichatorMedia) August 7, 2023