Sunday, February 25, 2024

“Not the outcome we were hoping for” – Council to consider all options following RAF Scampton decision

Mrs Justice Thornton has dismissed West Lindsey District Council’s Judicial Review claim, that the Home Office acted unlawfully in their decision making in March 2023 to use the RAF Scampton site for asylum accommodation, under Class Q for a period of 12 months.

Mrs Justice Thornton dismissed the claims on the following grounds:

  • The Secretary of State for the Home Department was entitled to rely on General Permitted Development Rights and the definition of ‘emergency’ as set out in Class Q.
  • Although it was accepted by Mrs Justice Thornton that the site would likely be used for longer than 12 months, because the plans were not well developed when the decision to use the site was taken in March 2023, the Environmental Impact Assessment screening was not required to assess the impact of the development beyond 12 months.
  • Although the development proposed caused significant risk of community tensions and the Secretary of State chose to limit engagement with local authorities and stakeholders, the judge found that reliance upon engagement and experience from previous sites to be sufficient.

In handing down her Judgment Mrs Justice Thorton acknowledged there were compelling reasons to allow an appeal on all grounds.

The Council will now need to consider its options moving forwards.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Trevor Young, said: “West Lindsey District Council remains firmly of the view that the site of RAF Scampton is not suitable for accommodating 2,000 single adult male asylum seekers. It was important for us to challenge the decision taken by the government in March of this year and we made a strong case to the Court.

“We understand the concerns and frustrations of our community. I am incredibly grateful for the support the Council has received from our communities, residents, MP’s, businesses, and our partners, throughout the process. We will continue to work hard to protect the £300million investment proposal that is on the table.”

Director of Planning, Regeneration and Communities at West Lindsey District Council, Sally Grindrod-Smith said: “Whilst this is not the outcome we were hoping for, we have been planning for all possible scenarios. We will continue to hold the Home Office to account, in order to protect our services, communities and the investment opportunity, which will secure the long-term sustainability of the area.”


Image courtesy of West Lindsey District Council

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