Pessimism in Scampton ahead of judicial review

West Lindsey Council has announced the dates for its judicial review of the Home Office’s plans for RAF Scampton – but some residents are fearing it may be a “done deal”.
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The local authority is set to go before the High Court in London on October 31 and November 1, arguing the former airbase is unsuitable for housing up to 2,000 asylum-seekers.

The news about 50 migrants are expected to arrive at RAF Scampton by the end of September has intensified speculation among some residents that the government’s plans may be inevitable.

Karen Anchor said: “I don’t think it can be stopped. The fact they are putting portable buildings on the base before the judicial review has even taken place is pretty poor.”

Her frustration with the Home Office has grown over the past five months as it has only just recently started reaching out to the community.

The government body scheduled a day of engagement events at Lincolnshire Showground for people to voice concerns.

Ms Anchor said: “The RAF had a meeting with the Home Office a while ago to express concerns about the safety of their staff, but what about our safety? We’re only literally just getting a meeting.”

Another resident, who declined to be named, said: “I think it’s a done deal. The Home Office are a bunch of backstabbers.”

A £300 million enterprise, tourism and heritage project led by Scampton Holdings promised to bring thousands of highly skilled jobs to the area, but there are now concerns that investors might go elsewhere.

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Resident Brenda Smith said: “I don’t think the hearing is a waste of time at all. At the end of the day, as long as we don’t get a judge on the side of the government, how can they possibly think throwing away £300 million in private investment is appropriate?

“I’m still hopeful that the judicial review will go in our favour, but it depends on the judge. It’s a worry but what can you do?”

The Home Office says the housing will end the expensive use of hotels for small boat arrivals.

Coun Roger Patterson, West Lindsey Council Conservative member for Scampton said: “I’m hopeful of winning the forthcoming judicial review because I believe we have valid legal and planning reasons as to why RAF Scampton is not suitable for housing asylum seekers.

“The buildings on the base are in a seriously decaying state, also the site is contaminated with Asbestos in the buildings and fuel contamination on the site, plus who knows what else.

“The Home Office plans jeopardise the £300 million investment in our community, and Lincolnshire as a whole and condem residents to years of being supported financially by the district council and Lincolnshire Council, as has happened elsewhere nearby where the MoD abandoned their sites and the local community.”

The Home Office declined to respond to criticism and explain why why it has chosen to install portable buildings on the site before the judicial review.