Loss of a £300m redevelopment deal for RAF Scampton is “scandalous” says councillor
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Despite the Home Office’s plans to house migrants on the site being given the green light, West Lindsey District Council vice chairman Roger Patterson (Conservative) insists the site is “totally unsuitable”.
Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick made the long-awaited announcement during a House of Commons speech on Wednesday, March 29, confirming that up to 1,500 refugees would be housed in portacabins on the RAF base while they await processing.
The move has also scuppered a £300 million “landmark deal” that would preserve, protect and enhance the site – creating thousands of jobs.
In response to the news, Coun Patterson said: “We’ve already seen what the Ministry of Defence (MoD) does to communities in Lincolnshire and West Lindsey when they just pull out and the council is left to pick up the bills and pieces.
“It’s not even about asylum seekers, it could be scouts, it could be anybody.
"That site is not suitable.
“There are other sites available and to lose a £300 million investment for this is scandalous.
“I personally blame the Home Office, the civil servants and their incompetence and the ministers that go along with it.
“They should have sorted this out a long long time ago.”
He continued: “If we didn’t have this deal, I would not be sitting here arguing about anyone coming to that place if the camp was okay to house them.”
While still bitterly disappointed, the Tory councillor said he remains optimistic that the redevelopment could still happen in the future.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick said: “All parts of Government want to work closely with local authorities to mitigate the issues that will arise as a result of this site.
"There will be a significant package of support for his constituents.
“There will be specific protections for the unique heritage on the site. We do not intend to make any use of the historic buildings.”