‘No final decision’ on plans to house 1,500 asylum seekers in Yorkshire village

Around 60 men had been due to move to the proposed new ‘reception centre’ in Linton-on-Ouse by the end of May

01 June 2022

The Home Office has made “no final decision” on plans to house up to 1,500 asylum seekers in a disused North Yorkshire RAF base, according to a letter sent to the local council.

Around 60 men had been due to move to the proposed new “reception centre” in Linton-on-Ouse by the end of May.

But the controversial plans appear to have been delayed, with a letter to Hambleton District Council saying ministers had not yet decided on whether to send asylum seekers to the village, near York.

A spokesperson for the local authority said: “We can confirm that the chief executive of Hambleton District Council received a letter on Friday afternoon from the Home Office where it was stated that no final decision has been taken by Ministers to accommodate asylum seekers at RAF Linton.”

The council had previously said it was seeking a judicial review of the proposals amid significant opposition from residents.

Asylum seeker proposals
A member of the public asks a question during the parish council meeting at Linton-on-Ouse Village Hall (Danny Lawson/PA)

The Home Office announced plans for the new accommodation and processing centre in April.

It says the facility will provide “safe and cost-effective” accommodation for single adult males who are claiming asylum in the UK and meet the relevant suitability criteria.

In May, the leader of Hambleton District Council said he had been told by the Home Office that they intended for 60 people to arrive at the centre at the end of the month.

Senior civil servants from the department were questioned for two hours by residents at the village hall on May 19, with one saying the villagers were “in crisis”.

Meanwhile, Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake told the Commons that the lives of current and former armed forces personnel could be in “peril” if the plans go ahead.

Speaking out against the “half-baked” plan, the MP for Thirsk and Malton said the village only has a population of around 600 and is the “wrong location”.

He said: “People do not feel safe. And some of those… I think those fears are rational. I don’t think they’re irrational fears.

“In any cohort of 1,500 young, single men, you’re going to get some who do not play by the rules. The vast majority will, but that’s very little comfort to people who are genuinely in fear of their lives and their wellbeing.

“I’ve had children as young as nine writing to me, meeting me at these public meetings, saying how panic-stricken they are.”

The Home Office has been contacted for a comment.

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