North Yorkshire village of Linton-on-Ouse to house asylum seekers under new government plans
Report by Julie Harrison
A former RAF station in a North Yorkshire village is to become a reception centre for asylum seekers.
The Linton-on-Ouse site, which closed in 2020, is set to become the first new bespoke centre under the government's new plan, which aims to cut the cost of housing refugees.
Some villagers told ITV News Tyne Tees of their surprise while the local parish council said they were not consulted.
The village's MP has said the claims "must be processed somewhere and in a humane and managed manner".
Kevin Hollinrake, Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton, has sought to reassure constituents following the announcement that the former RAF site in Linton-on-Ouse, will be used as an "asylum seeker accommodation and processing centre".
Heading off expected opposition in the village, Mr Hollinrake said the site should create 300 jobs as well as "new business opportunities in catering and other areas".
He said he had also asked ministers if the centre could be opened up to Ukrainian refugees.Linton-on-Ouse has been described as a "ghost town" following the closure of the RAF base in 2020.
Mr Hollinrake released a statement saying he had met the immigration minister about the plans.
He wrote: "I appreciate my constituents may have a number of questions about this site, but it is important to note these claims must be processed somewhere and in a humane and managed manner.
"I want to assure constituents I will be working closely with the Home Office on this throughout.
"There are a number of conditions I wanted to ensure were considered in advance of the site opening. I have made it clear the local community must be at the heart of these plans, prioritising those in the area for any jobs which may be required at the site.
"At capacity, there should be around 300 jobs created on the site and a number of new business opportunities in catering and other areas."
Mr Hollinrake added: "It is crucial that those being processed are housed in suitable and appropriate settings, with recreation and social facilities to enable those individuals to live as normal a life as possible.
"I have been assured the time limit for any asylum seekers to remain at the site will be 180 days and I have ensured the minister is clear this must be stuck to, to ensure those waiting for decisions are not unduly delayed."
Mr Hollinrake said he had spoken to MPs who had similar facilities in their constituencies.
"Initial concerns around disturbance to local communities has not been borne out in practice, so hopefully this will be the case here also," he said.
RAF Linton-on-Ouse had been in operation for almost a century and was most recently used as a fast jet training facility. The Duke of Cambridge trained there in 2008.