The Home Office Has Been Ordered To Stop Work At RAF Scampton
Good news for those that have objected to asylum seekers being housed at RAF Scampton in Lincoln. The Home Office has been told to stop work immediately.
In a new development surrounding the objections of former RAF Scampton being used to house Asylum Seekers, the Home Office has been instructed to stop all work
West Lindsey District Council issued an enforcement notice and stop notice to the government, citing concerns over potential breaches of planning conditions. This move has raised questions about the proper assessment of the development’s impact and the need for appropriate planning permission.
Sally Grindrod-Smith, the director of planning regeneration, expressed her concerns during a site visit, where she noted several issues that could be considered planning breaches.
She said, “significant works” were being done on site “that were not considered as part of the Home Office’s environmental impact assessment screening request”.
“This means that the impact of the development has not been properly assessed,” she said.
She added: “Additionally, it is clear from the scale of works on site that this development is not limited to a temporary period of 12 months.”
This recent development follows a temporary stop notice that was issued to the Home Office earlier in September. The initial notice related to listed buildings and the preservation of archaeology on the site.
West Lindsey District Council deemed that certain works had the potential to cause irreversible damage to important heritage assets, leading to a breach of planning controls. Consequently, the council issued further notices after a subsequent site visit uncovered additional breaches.
The enforcement notice and stop notice are issued under sections 172 and 183 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. It is an offense to fail to comply with a stop notice, and contravening the notice may lead to legal consequences.
The council’s actions highlight the importance of adhering to planning regulations and obtaining appropriate permissions before commencing any development.
RAF Scampton holds historical significance as the former home of The Red Arrows aerobatics display team and the Dambusters squadron, which carried out one of the most famous air raids of the Second World War.
The potential conversion of this site into accommodation for asylum seekers has faced resistance from local leaders who fear the abandonment of a £300 million deal to transform the base into a heritage site.
The council’s decision to issue enforcement and stop notices follows their permission to bring a High Court challenge against the Home Office. The judicial review is scheduled for October and November.
Councillor Trevor Young, leader of the local authority, expressed disappointment over the Home Office’s failure to secure appropriate planning permission and adequately assess the impact of their proposals. He emphasized the risk that using the site for asylum accommodation poses to the £300 million investment proposal.
He said: “The use of the site for asylum accommodation puts at risk the £300m investment proposal.
“It is incredibly disappointing that despite repeated assurances that the site would be safe, legal and compliant, the Home Office has failed to secure appropriate planning permission or to adequately assess the impact of their proposals.
“It is an offence to contravene the stop notice and I urge the Home Office to cease all works in line with this legal action.”
The notices issued by the council add to the setbacks faced by the government in finding affordable and suitable accommodation for asylum seekers. The use of military bases and other unconventional options, such as barges and potential deportations to Rwanda, have encountered difficulties and delays.
The government aims to reduce costs associated with housing asylum seekers in hotels, which reportedly amount to £8 million per day. However, these alternative solutions have faced criticism and mired the government in controversy.
A spokesperson for the Home Office defended the project, stating that converting surplus military sites into accommodation would provide cheaper and more orderly housing for asylum seekers arriving in small boats. They assured that the project met planning requirements and would offer basic, safe, and secure accommodation.
This is not the first time the Home Office has upset the people of Lincolnshire. The people of Skegness are fed up with their town being used as a dumping ground. The closure of hotels to house asylum seekers has not only affected tourism, but it has also cost jobs.
It is feared that other seaside towns in Lincolnshire including Cleethorpes will be targeted by the Government to house asylum seekers.
Questions are being asked on why we are spending £8 million a day housing asylum seeker when the Government can’t find accommodation for ex-service personnel who are being forced to live on the streets.
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