The Home Office is moving its operation currently in Becket House in Southwark to Warehouse K in the Royal Victoria Docks. A planning application for the change of use for part of the building to operate as a Reporting Centre for individuals going through the immigration process is currently being prepared. The Reporting Centre will form part of a wider operation which will include offices for those involved in the management of the immigration system.
Before a planning application is submitted to London Borough of Newham (LBN) we undertook a public consultation on the plans. Further information about the plans is provided below and on the detailed FAQs available to view here.
The Change of Use application specifically relates to the area in the building where individuals will be required to report in person. Of those who attend site to report, a small proportion will be required to have an interview in interview rooms so that the Home Office can ensure they have up to date details on those who report and support individuals with both the progression of their immigration case and any vulnerability or safeguarding issues that are identified. Of those who report, a small proportion may be required to be detained in a temporary holding facility while they await transport to other locations. There will be no overnight stays within this facility.
The Warehouse K building is located on Seagull Lane at Royal Victoria Docks in Newham. The location of the site is shown on the site plan.
Full planning permission and listed building consent was granted in October 2019 for external and internal alterations, which allow the Home Office to move in to the building and function as they require to under the existing lawful planning use of B1a. These planning applications can be viewed on LBN’s website; the planning application number is 19/02504/FUL and the listed building consent application number is 19/02505/LBC.
As the requirements for the Home Office include a Reporting Centre, there is a requirement to submit a further change of use planning application for a portion of the floorspace from the existing lawful B1 (office) use to Sui Generis (the lawful use for a Reporting Centre).
The Reporting Centre will allow the Home Office to maintain contact with people who have no lawful status in the UK in accordance with their Immigration Bail conditions. Individuals attend pre-booked appointments and for a small number when attending, they will discuss the progression of their case in an interview.
The operations of the existing Reporting Centre at Becket House in Southwark previously had around 650 people visit on a daily basis before the COVID-19 crisis. The Home Office is currently undertaking a review of reporting which is likely to result in a blended approach to reporting, including telephone and digital reporting which will reduce the need for face to face contact. We will provide further detail once the review is complete but anticipate the implication of this could be a reduction of up to half the numbers of daily visitors previously recorded.
The Reporting Centre will be open to members of the public from 9am to 4pm on weekdays however we are currently operating post COVID-19 with reduced opening times – 10am to 3pm.
In addition to the Reporting Centre, the interview rooms and temporary holding facility will be used by Immigration, Compliance and Enforcement officers for the short term detention of individuals arrested for suspected immigration offences. Whilst these officers may use the rooms 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no one will be held in the rooms overnight.
No staff or public parking is provided for those attending site during office hours and we anticipate the majority of trips will be by public transport (particularly as the DLR station is so close). The Home Office estimates just under 20% of those that will use the Reporting Centre currently reside in Newham.
However, there will be up to 40 parking spaces in the NCP available for staff travelling to and from work outside of public transport hours.
We held a public consultation on the plans in October 2020. Thank you to all who submitted comments. The Home Office is now preparing the change of use application for submission to LBN.
During the consultation we received a number of comments and questions. We have prepared a detailed FAQ to respond to these questions. Please visit the FAQ page to view.