Ellie Ames 02 February 2024

New legal bid as long-term asylum site plans confirmed

New legal bid as long-term asylum site plans confirmed image
Image: west-lindsey.gov.uk

West Lindsey District Council has launched a fresh legal challenge after the Home Office confirmed its intention to use RAF Scampton to house asylum seekers for another three and a half years.

The Home Office has told the local authority that it intends to obtain a special development order (SDO) – a means of securing planning permission through secondary legislation – to extend its use of the site beyond April.

West Lindsey DC said it has shared its ‘robust concerns’ after being invited to provide comments on the SDO.

It has also launched judicial review proceedings over what it calls an ‘inadequate’ Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Screening Direction, on which the Home Office is reliant to secure the SDO.

Council leader Trevor Young said: ‘The Government has not only failed to understand the complexity of the site through its inadequate EIA, but it has also failed to engage properly with local people throughout the process leading to significant anxiety within the community.’

Braintree District Council recently criticised the Home Office’s ‘lack of transparency’ over its plans to obtain an SDO to extend the use of RAF Wethersfield in Essex, another former airbase used to accommodate asylum seekers.

In relation to both sites, a Home Office spokesperson said: ‘Delivering accommodation on surplus military sites provides more orderly, suitable accommodation for those arriving in small boats while reducing the use of hotels.

‘We understand the concerns of local communities and are liaising with councils and local services to manage the impact of using these sites on a temporary basis.’

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