West Lindsey District Council has taken legal action against the Home Office challenging the decision to use a local Royal Air Force station as an accommodation site for asylum seekers.
This follows an announcement by the Immigration Minister on Wednesday to use RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire as a site for up to 2,000 asylum seekers.
The local authority said in a statement it did not consider the base suitable and feared the Home Office’s proposals could affect plans to deliver a £300million regeneration program and jeopardize the ‘world famous heritage’ site.
He insisted that there are a significant number of barriers to using the site for asylum seekers, including “significant contamination” from past uses of the site that would require “thorough remediation”.
The body accused the Home Office of failing to provide a satisfactory response to the issues raised and said it had therefore taken legal action challenging the ministry’s decision.
The council’s director of planning, regeneration and communities, Sally Grindrod-Smith, said: ‘Despite the council’s continued attempts to expose the Home Office to the irreparable damage that would be done to the opportunity to he once-in-a-generation investment that is on the table, the Home Secretary has taken the decision to use RAF Scampton as an asylum accommodation site.
‘Council considers the decision to be irrational and furthermore the Home Office does not have the appropriate planning permission for the intended use.’
She added: “The council is fully aware of the concern over the proposal and the potential loss of much needed leveling investment. We will continue to press the Home Office to engage directly with our community to fully understand the concerns raised.
According to a document released by the government following its decision, the site would accommodate single adult male asylum seekers in a phased approach – starting by moving 200 people to the site before increasing to 2,000 people in over time.
The document stated: “RAF Scampton has been identified as a military surplus site suitable for the accommodation needs of asylum seekers.
“The site will create new jobs and bring investment to the area, following the withdrawal of the RAF facility.
“The RAF Scampton site will provide accommodation for asylum seekers and is designed to be as self-contained as possible, helping to minimize the impact on local communities and services.”
The Home Office has been contacted for comment.