Controversial plans to house asylum seekers in Linton-on-Ouse on hold

The base at Linton on Ouse earmarked as the site of a reception centre for asylum seekers. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Plans to convert former RAF base in a North Yorkshire village into a reception centre for asylum seekers have been put on hold.

The site at Linton-on-Ouse, near York, 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.

The plan has caused concern among local residents.

North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Zoë Metcalfe said she had been contacted by Kevin Foster MP, the Minister for Safe and Legal Migration at the Home Office.

“I am pleased that the minister has replied to my letters outlining my concerns over the proposals to repurpose the old Linton-on-Ouse RAF base as an asylum accommodation centre," she said.

“In his letter, Kevin Foster MP, Minister for Safe and Legal Migration has confirmed that they will not accommodate asylum seekers at the RAF Linton-on-Ouse site until it is safe and conforms to all legal requirements, including planning. Only once that is all in place will they make a formal decision on whether to use the site for asylum accommodation.

“He also recognises that the anticipated use of Linton-on-Ouse will create additional policing requirements and that the costs associated with this should be met by the Government."

She added: “I very much welcome the Minister’s commitment.

“I will continue to work closely with the Government and communities at Linton-on-Ouse to ensure that residents on and off the site are safe, and feel safe - and that the costs of any additional demand on police and fire services, are paid from central funds.”

The plan for Linton was announced in April as part of a series of immigration measures - including the policy of transporting asylum seekers to Rwanda - but both residents and local officials claimed there had been no consultation.

Initially, 500 single male asylum seekers, mainly from countries such as Eritrea, Syria, Iran and Iraq, would be housed in Linton while their asylum applications are processed.

A Home Office spokesperson: "As we continue to work on the plan for the asylum reception centre at Linton-on-Ouse, which will be as self-sufficient as possible, we continue to listen to community feedback. 

“We maintain the site is urgently needed to provide essential asylum accommodation and will assist as we end the use of asylum seekers using hotels, which are costing the taxpayer almost £5million a day.”

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