RAF Scampton: Residents call Home Office meetings 'utter nonsense'

LDR photo banner outside Lincs Showground meeting
A banner was put up outside the meeting's venue at the Lincolnshire Showground Credit: LDR / James Turner

People living near a proposed asylum centre at a former airbase have dismissed Home Office engagement meetings as "propaganda".

The government agency held two sessions on 1 Dec to discuss plans to house up to 2,000 asylum seekers at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.

The first was aimed at local residents identified as "vulnerable" by the Department for Health and Social Care while the second was for business owners.

However, attendees left visibly annoyed.

The Home Office has selected RAF Scampton as a site to house up to 2,000 migrants. Credit: PA Media

Outside the meetings at the Lincolnshire Showground, members of RAF Scampton’s Actual Action Group (AAG) staged a protest by the main gate.

Discussions held in August indicated that the government planned to have the migrant centre fully operational by Christmas, however, there have been no reports arrivals.

Terry Rumble, 68, who was at the meeting, said: “There’s no news. It was another hour and a half of Home Office propaganda.

"It was an hour and a half of them contradicting what they had said at the last meeting. It is all complete and utter nonsense."

Mr Rumble said the development hinges on the outcome of West Lindsey District Council’s judicial review of the plans.

Although the High Court case took place on 31 October and 1 November, a decision from Mrs Justice Thornton is still pending.

Mr Rumble also said that the Home Office discussed using a Special Development Order (SDO) that would enable it to use the site for a duration exceeding what is permitted under emergency planning laws.

Wayne Kisby, 43, also attended and criticised the Home Office.

He said: "They wouldn’t give anyone a straight answer, and just beat around the bush.

"They said they would be preserving the heritage on-site and they are going to be using the site for three years ideally. But that still didn’t answer any of my questions."

Sarah Carter, leader of the Save Our Scampton campaign group claimed representatives from the government agency refused to discuss the judicial review during the meeting.

As rumours persist about migrants moving onto the site imminently, Mrs Carter claimed residents would not be told about the timing of arrivals.

She said: "They said they won’t tell residents when they are moving in, but they will discuss it with other parties such as the council and emergency services because they are the ones who need to know. It’s all down to whether they tell us or not."

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Two engagement events are being held to keep elderly and vulnerable residents and businesses informed on the future use of RAF Scampton as asylum accommodation. 

"These form part of our ongoing communication and engagement activity with the local community.

 “Accommodation sites such as Scampton provide more orderly, suitable accommodation for those arriving in small boats and will reduce the impact on communities due to on-site healthcare and catering.

 “We are working closely with councils and key partners, including local police to make sure appropriate arrangements are in place.”    

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