The Directorate of Immigration (UDI) will not go ahead with plans for a reception center for up to 1,200 people at the old Veum psychiatric hospital in Fredrikstad.
UDI’s intention was to enter into a lease with a duration of 10-15 years. The change in plans is based on the influx of new asylum seekers in Norway, and the resultant uncertainty about the amount of investment needed in order to operate a reception center in those premises. Such a lease could be costly for the UDI, says Siv Kjelstrup, regional director of the UDI in Indre Ostland, in a statement.
During the first four months, there were a scant 1,100 asylum seekers to Norway. This is the lowest number for any four months of over twenty years.
The planned asylum center would have become the largest and the plans sparked protests among the approximately 2,500 residents of the local area around the abandoned hospital. The buildings on Veum stand empty after the psychiatry department merged with the somatic department at the new Østfold hospital on Kalnes.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today