A plan for the Home Office to relocate dozens of asylum seekers to a former RAF base in North Yorkshire before Tuesday has been delayed after a document emerged admitting “no final decision” has yet been made.
The plan to move 1,500 asylum seekers into the disused military base in the village of Linton-on-Ouse has been met with great opposition. The 600 inhabitants of the village, called “Guantánamo-on-Ouse”, have spoken out against the scheme – along with local councils and advocates.
Local Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake said earlier this month that the Home Office had informed him that the first group of 60 asylum seekers would move into the RAF base by 31 May.
However, a letter dated May 27 to Justin Ives, executive director of the Hambleton District Council, from a senior Home Office official, stated that “no final decision has been made by the ministers to accommodate asylum seekers at RAF Linton”.
The letter adds: “Analysis and consideration of whether to accept asylum seekers at RAF Linton is ongoing. As a result, I am unable to share further completed evidence, impact assessments or schedules with you.”
This raises questions about why the announcement has been made to move the first group of asylum seekers in.
The RAF base – where Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, trained – is the first in a network of proposed asylum camps to help end hotel use for this group at a reported cost of £ 4.7m.
The Hambleton District Council sent a pre-action legal letter to the Home Office on May 25, describing why officials believe the Home Office may have acted illegally with the asylum seekers’ housing plans. The Council has also sent a Notice of Planning Violation to the Ministry of the Interior, requesting specific information so that Council officials can check whether the plans are in breach of planning control.
Dr. Olga Matthias, of the Linton-on-Ouse Action Group, said: “We simply can not believe the mixed messages coming out of the Home Office. On April 14, they announced that they were doing this to us, whatever happen – so a few days ago they said they had not decided to do it at all – and with seven hours left they said they were ‘ten able to meet their own deadline. It’s complete chaos. “
A spokesman for the Hambleton District Council said: “We can confirm that the Secretary General of the Hambleton District Council on Friday afternoon received a letter from the Home Office stating that no final decision has been made by the Ministers to accommodate asylum seekers at the RAF Linton. “
A Home Office spokesman said: “As we continue to work on the plan for the Linton-on-Ouse Asylum Center, which will be as self-sufficient as possible, we will continue to listen to feedback from the community. We maintain that the site is urgent. need to provide necessary asylum accommodation and will help when we stop the use of asylum seekers using hotels that cost taxpayers almost £ 5 million a day. “