Council to appeal RAF Scampton asylum centre plan

Published on 21 December 2023, by Gainsboroughlive | No comments yet |

A decision to allow asylum seekers to be placed at the former RAF Scampton will be taken back to court.

West Lindsey District Council, which covers Scampton, announced it will appeal a High Court ruling that up to 2,000 asylum seekers can be housed on the site.

Leader of the authority, Trevor Young, said “our position has always been clear that this site is not suitable”.

The Home Office said it “wouldn’t be appropriate to comment”.

Mr Young added: “Our decision is strengthened by Mrs Justice Thornton who acknowledged ‘compelling grounds’ for us to appeal on all counts.”

Councillors “unanimously” agreed to take their case to the Court of Appeal, after discussing all available options and seeking legal advice.

The legal battle between the Home Office and West Lindsey District Council had been raging for months before the government successfully defended its plans to use the site as an asylum centre.

At the two-day hearing on 31 October and 1 November, lawyers representing two councils made complaints about ministers’ use of emergency planning rules for MDP Wethersfield and RAF Scampton

Following the ruling, Braintree District Council requested permission from the court to appeal against the decision and said it was awaiting “to hear more if this is granted”.

Analysis by Sharon Edwards political reporter

Tonight West Lindsey councillors unanimously decided to continue with the case through the legal system.

It will be very costly for the authority to continue – especially given the potential of substantial costs being awarded to the Home Office.

But there has been political pressure to carry on the fight from those local residents opposed to it.

Many living at or near the former RAF Scampton and the nearby village with the same name will be relieved to know that West Lindsey council will appeal.

The prospect of 2,000 asylum seekers being housed on site has caused considerable concern over issues such as safety and privacy.

But it could be many months for the appeal to be heard. So, could the asylum seekers will be moved onto the site in the meantime?

Almost daily social media is alight with rumours that their arrival could be imminent. West Lindsey doesn’t believe it will happen in the next few months at least.

It has a Stop Notice in place, which is a planning device to cease preparatory works. As a result much of the contracted work at Scampton has been paused.

But all that could change in the spring when the government will seek to grant itself a form of planning permission that would override the Notice.

RAF Scampton is the former home of the Dambusters and the Red Arrows and the council said it is “not a suitable site” for asylum seekers or a “cost-effective solution to tackling immigration issues”.

In October, Home Office lawyers told the High Court that using emergency powers to house asylum seekers at sites like the former RAF Scampton was entirely appropriate given “the unprecedented numbers of asylum seekers” and “the absence of suitable accommodation”.

This article was originally published by the BBC

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