Monday, December 11, 2023

Councils press new Home Secretary for meeting over RAF Scampton

The leaders of West Lindsey District Council and City of Lincoln Council have jointly addressed a letter to newly-appointed Home Secretary James Cleverly to express concerns about asylum accommodation proposals at RAF Scampton.

In the letter, Cllr Trevor Young and Cllr Ric Metcalfe, request a meeting with Mr Cleverly to discuss the government’s plans to house 2,000 asylum seekers there, and share perspectives on the potential impact on the local community. They say that despite attempts to work with the Home Office for the last 10 months, many questions remain unanswered.

Cllr Trevor Young, Leader of West Lindsey District Council, said: “We have been clear from day one that Scampton is not an appropriate location for a large-scale asylum accommodation centre. I wanted to be frank with the new Home Secretary that our small rural community at Scampton has serious concerns, which have not been addressed.

“Furthermore, the opportunity to secure a £300million regeneration and investment scheme remains on the table and we need to grab this with both hands. Now is the time for a sensible conversation.”

Cllr Ric Metcalfe added: “Scampton is a self-evidently unsuitable site for what is proposed. We will be asking the new Home Secretary, in the strongest possible terms, to review the original decision to use this site for asylum accommodation.”

Both councils remain committed to engaging constructively with the Home Office to find mutually agreeable solutions.

Meanwhile, West Lindsey District Council, along with Braintree District Council and a resident from Weathersfield, is awaiting the outcome of a judicial review held at the High Court in London last month. The judicial review challenged the lawfulness of the government’s decision to develop the site as asylum accommodation is awaited.

West Lindsey District Council’s Director of Planning Regeneration and Communities, Sally Grindrod-Smith, said: “The judicial review proceedings provided the Council, along with the other claimants in the case, the opportunity to set out to the judge the facts of the case.

“As part of my witness statement, I was able to ensure that the judge had sight of the challenges that our community is facing, and the scale of opportunity presented by the £300 million investment and regeneration plan. Additionally, we were able to provide a picture of the current reality on the site and set out the steps the Council has taken to enforce the rules of the planning system.”

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