Lincolnshire council challenges Home Office plan to house asylum seekers at RAF base

West Lindsey district council has launched legal action against the Home Office to challenge the decision to use a local Royal Air Force station as a site for asylum seeker accommodation.

It follows an announcement by the immigration minister on Wednesday to use RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire as a site for up to 2,000 asylum seekers.

The local authority said in a statement it does not consider the base to be appropriate and is concerned Home Office proposals will affect plans to deliver a £300m regeneration programme and put the “world-renowned heritage” site at risk.

It insisted there is a significant number of barriers to using the site for asylum seekers, including “significant contamination” from previous site uses that would require “thorough remediation”.

The body accused the Home Office of failing to provide a satisfactory response to questions raised and said it had therefore commenced legal action to challenge the government department’s decision.

The council’s director of planning, regeneration and communities, Sally Grindrod-Smith, said: “Despite ongoing attempts by the council to set out to the Home Office the irretrievable damage that would be caused to the once-in-a-generation investment opportunity that is on the table, the home secretary has taken the decision to utilise RAF Scampton as a site for asylum accommodation.

“The council considers that the decision is irrational and moreover the Home Office does not have the appropriate planning permission for the intended use.”

She added: “The council is acutely aware of the concern caused by the proposal and the potential loss of much-needed levelling up investment. We will continue to press the Home Office to engage directly with our community to fully understand the concerns being raised.”

According to a document published by the government following its decision, the site would accommodate single adult male asylum seekers using a phased approach – starting with moving 200 people on site before increasing to 2,000 people over time.

The document said: “RAF Scampton has been identified as a surplus military site that is suitable for the purposes of asylum accommodation.

“The site will create new jobs and bring investment into the area, following the drawdown of the RAF facility.

“The site at RAF Scampton will provide accommodation for asylum seekers and is designed to be as self-sufficient as possible, helping to minimise the impact on local communities and services.”

The Home Office was contacted for comment.

The Guardian