A spokeswoman from No Borders UK, the network organising the protest camp, said, "We were lucky to find the land in time. We have paid the rent and sent a Temporary Event Notice to the local authorities and are in the process of arranging other logistics."
Police have reportedly been going around calling on farmers in the Salfords area, including the owner of the camp site, asking if they were letting the No Border Camp use their land. "They have apparently been trying hard to stop this camp," Lisa Morgan added. "This is simply a violation of people's right to protest and assembly."
Camp organisers today called on local residents and handed them a letter informing them of the camp and inviting them to take part. The letter, which contained details about the camp, its aims and programme, said "We expect the media and local authorities to distort the truth and present us as 'troublemakers'. Come and see for yourselves and take part in our activities, and see why we are here and what we want to achieve. It is not our intention to cause any disruption or disturbance for the local communities or businesses."
A new purpose-built immigration detention centre is planned at Gatwick Airport as part of the government's five-year strategy for asylum and immigration. The prison, to be called Brook House, is due to open in 2008 and will have a total capacity of 426 places for male and female detainees. It is being developed by BAA Lynton on behalf of the Airport Property Partnership. BAA Lynton had developed the existing centre at Gatwick, Tinsley House, in a similar way. The government has already seen the 'benefits' of locating 'removal centres' close to airports, with operations at Colnbrook and Harmondsworth, near Heathrow, and Tinsley House at Gatwick.
There are 10 so-called Immigration Removal Centres in the UK. Seven are run by private companies contracted by the Home Office's Border and Immigration Agency (previously the Immigration and Nationality Directorate), while three are run by the Prison Service. As of July 2007, these prisons have a total capacity of 2,506. However, the Labour government, which inherited 700 places when it took office in 1997, is aiming for a total of 4,000 places. In addition, there are many so-called Short-term Holding Facilities at many ports and airports throughout the country as well as at a number of Immigration Reporting Centres.
The Gatwick No Border Camp press group