Protestors jeer Home Office officials at meeting over Linton-on-Ouse asylum centre plan

Local residents gathered outside the village hall Credit: PA

Home Office officials were jeered by more than 100 protestors as they arrived for a public meeting over controversial plans for an asylum seeker centre in a North Yorkshire village.

There were boos and chants of "wrong plan, wrong place" outside the village hall in Linton-on-Ouse as some of the village's 600 residents voiced their anger.

The meeting, on Thursday, 19 May, came around a month after proposals were announced for an accommodation centre at the former RAF base for up to 1,500 people seeking asylum.

Senior civil servants from the department were questioned for two hours by residents. One villager asked if the Home Secretary would come to hear for herself their concerns about security and the impact on local services.

Senior Home Office official Cheryl Avery told around 200 people in the room: "That is a part of our plan to make sure that she comes along and meets with everybody here, and you have an opportunity to speak to her at some point. We're trying to work out with her office to get some time in her diary."

Ms Avery confirmed during the meeting that 60 asylum seekers will arrive at the site by the end of the month – mostly men, aged 18 to 40.

Local police commander, Chief Insp David Hunter, said North Yorkshire Police would have a dedicated patrol in the village from that point, operating from 8.30pm to midnight every day.

Residents are angry over the plans Credit: PA Images

'Used as a guinea pig'

Residents of the village say they are angry at a lack of consultation over the plan.

Speaking to ITV News ahead of the meeting, Olga Matthias, from the Linton-on-Ouse Action Group, said: "[We feel] frustration at the Home Office's intransigence towards this village, towards the residents of the surrounding villages, towards local politicians, towards our MP.

"This site that they say they've chosen is one of eight. They haven't announced where the other seven are going to be. But this village is being used as a guinea pig for this absolutely ludicrous idea of putting 1,500 asylum seekers in one place."

She added: "The Home Office is appearing to be extraordinarily stubborn over this matter. Quite frankly, I would say they are behaving like school yard bullies, not leaders in our Government."

Among those opposing the plan is the Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton, Kevin Hollinrake.

He has joined residents in urging the Government to thing again, saying it is in "entirely the wrong location" and that it will effectively place villagers "under house arrest".

But the Government says it intends to go ahead with its plan as part of wider measures which will also see asylum seekers sent to Rwanda to have their applications processed.

In a statement, the Home Office said: "The asylum reception centre at Linton-on-Ouse will help end our reliance on expensive hotels which are costing the taxpayer almost £5million a day. We are engaging with local stakeholders about the use of the site.

The former RAF base is to become an asylum centre Credit: PA Images

"The new plan for immigration will fix this broken asylum system, allowing us to support those in genuine need while preventing abuse of the system and deterring illegal entry to the UK."

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