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RAF Scampton Campaigners Lose Fight With Government

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RAF Scampton: Council Loses Legal Battle Over Controversial Asylum Seeker Scheme

Campaigners angry after a Lincolnshire Council lost its legal battle against the Government over the housing of 2,000 asylum seekers at RAF Scampton

 

The legal battle between West Lindsey District Council and The Government has been lost the fight to stop plans to house 2,000 asylum seekers at RAF Scampton.

The council had requested a judicial review of the scheme, arguing that it was unlawful. However, Mrs Justice Thornton dismissed their claims and ruled in favour of the government’s decision.

Campaigners against the plans to house illegal migrants at the famous RAF Base in Lincoln have been left shocked that the Government can go ahead with their plans to house migrants.

The government invoked Class Q of the Town and Country Planning Order 2015, which permits development without permission in emergency situations.

West Lindsey District Council challenged the legality of this action, leading to the High Court hearing in October and November. Despite their efforts, the council’s claims were dismissed by Mrs Justice Thornton.

The council argued that the government’s reliance on Class Q was not lawful. They contended that the evoking of this planning order was not justified as there was no emergency situation requiring immediate action.

However, Mrs Justice Thornton disagreed with this argument, stating that the government had lawfully relied on Class Q.

She pointed to former home secretary Suella Braverman’s demonstration of an event or situation that threatened serious damage to human welfare in the UK, specifically citing homelessness among asylum seekers.

One of the concerns raised by the council was the potential for asylum seekers to be housed for longer than initially estimated.

The council’s lawyers argued that there was no reliable information available for officials to assess any potential developments beyond the initial works.

Mrs Justice Thornton acknowledged this concern but ruled that the department’s expectation of housing asylum seekers for up to a year was not unlawful, even though the duration had been increased to three years since.

The conversion of RAF Scampton into a facility for asylum seekers has raised fears of increased community tensions.

Mrs Justice Thornton acknowledged the significance of this risk, noting that it was internally acknowledged.

However, she ruled that the equality impact assessment was carried out on the basis that the site would be used for as long as originally expected. Therefore, she concluded that the home secretary had not been irrational in her decision.

The council also raised issues regarding the value for money analysis of the asylum seeker scheme. They argued that the government had not thoroughly examined the underlying analysis, making the decision irrational.

However, Mrs Justice Thornton ruled in favour of the government, stating that value for money was not so obviously material that it was irrational for the Secretary of State to rely on the submission that her permanent secretary was content with the analysis.

Mrs Justice Thornton highlighted the government’s statutory responsibility to provide accommodation and support to asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute.

She noted that the number of asylum seekers requiring accommodation had reached unprecedented levels, particularly since the Covid-19 pandemic.

To address the strains on the asylum system, the Home Office approached the Ministry of Defence and other government departments to explore the use of RAF Scampton and RAF Wethersfield to accommodate single adult male asylum seekers.

Although West Lindsey District Council’s claims were dismissed, it is understood that they will appeal the decision.

As a result, a stop notice will remain in effect at the RAF Scampton site until the appeal process is completed. The arrival of the first wave of asylum seekers is expected before Christmas, but no specific date has been set.

The opposition to RAF Scampton being used to house illegal migrants has received strong support locally including people from Lincoln, Skegness, Grimsby, Boston, Scunthorpe as well as further-a-field including London and Manchester.

As a result of the Government being allowed to use the famous RAF base to house illegal migrants, there has been a lot of anger over the amount of taxpayer’s money being used when people born here are forced to live on the streets.

One woman from Skegness who did not wish to be named said: “how can the government justify spending more than £6million a day to house illegal migrants when our NHS is falling apart.”

The woman from Skegness went on to say that she does not understand how come two people have died in the past week after being forced to live in their cars when the Government look after people who have never paid in the system.

The general feeling by a lot of people is where is the money coming from to house illegal migrants when there is nearly 300,000 people who are homeless and receive no help from the government.

One thing is for sure, those campaigning fighting against RAF Scampton being used to house illegal migrants do not intend to lie down and accept the ruling.

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