The new detention centre

If the expansion of Heathrow airport goes ahead, Harmondsworth and Colnbrook will have to be demolished, and the government plans to replace them with a single detention centre of equivalent size. Four possible sites for a replacement detention centre have been identified.

The Airports National Policy Statement, the government’s guidance for the expansion planning process, requires the developers to provide continuous access to detention facilities and implies that this should be ensured by building a replacement which can start operation before access to the existing detention centres is significantly affected by expansion works.

The Home Office and Heathrow Airport Ltd have worked together to refine the requirements for a replacement detention centre site. A single site, as close as possible to the boundary of the expanded airport, would replace the two existing detention centres, and must provide the same capacity and occupy at least the same land area (preferably 25% more) as Harmondsworth and Colnbrook combined. Heathrow Airport Ltd has shortlisted four sites:

  • Mayfield Farm (site E1), to the south of the existing airport, in the London Borough of Hounslow.
  • Land east of M4 spur (site B1) and land at Holloway Lane (site A4), two sites to the north of the expanded airport in the London Borough of Hillingdon, both immediately south of the M4 motorway and located either side of the motorway spur connecting the airport with M4 junction 4.
  • Land to the south-west of existing airport boundary (site F1), near the village of Stanwell Moor in the borough of Spelthorne in Surrey.

All four sites are on green belt land, but Heathrow Airport Ltd and the Home Office intend to apply for planning permission for the new detention centre as part of the Development Consent Order application for the entire Heathrow expansion plan, allowing them to bypass the local planning process. Some of the sites are also being considered for other developments to replace other facilities displaced by the expansion of the airport.

The selected site and other details will be revealed as Heathrow Airport Ltd releases further plans, and this website will be updated as more information becomes available.