'No final decision' on plans to open camp for 1,500 migrants in Yorkshire village

31 May 2022, 20:44

The plans for a 1,500 migrant camp in Linton-on-Ouse have not been finalised.
The plans for a 1,500 migrant camp in Linton-on-Ouse have not been finalised. Picture: Alamy/LBC
Vicki Smith

By Vicki Smith

No final decision has been made on plans to house 1,500 migrants in a north Yorkshire village, LBC can reveal.

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The Home Office intends to use a former RAF base in Linton-on-Ouse, which is 10 miles North of York, for up to 1,500 single men, as part of its deal to ship asylum seekers off to Rwanda.

The first group of 60 migrants were set to arrive in Linton-on-Ouse this week, but it’s understood their arrival has been delayed.

LBC has now seen a letter from the Home Office which says “no final decision has been made” to house migrants in Linton-on-Ouse.

The letter says, "analysis and consideration of whether or not to accommodate asylum seekers at RAF Linton is ongoing”.

After being approached by LBC, the Home Office did not deny that the plans are yet to be finalised.

Read more: Fury at plans for 1,500 migrant camp in Yorkshire village as part of Rwanda deal

Read more: Ukrainian refugees will not be deported to Rwanda, Boris Johnson vows

Linton-on-Ouse residents protest over asylum seeker centre plans

Instead, a spokesperson said they will continue to listen to community feedback as they work on their plans.

It comes as the Home Office confirmed plans to send the first migrants to Rwanda on June 14.

Kevin Hollinrake, the Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton who represents Linton-on-Ouse, told LBC that "a village of 600 people is being made a sacrificial lamb" for national immigration policy.

He accused the Home Office of choosing Linton-on-Ouse without proper consultation based solely on the RAF site being available when the announcement needed to be made "to coincide with the Rwanda policy announcement”.

Mr Hollinrake told LBC that the village is being regarded as "collateral damage for a political priority".

The MP said the "vast majority of the asylum seekers will be decent, law-abiding people who play by the rules but in any cohort of 1500 young, single men there's going to be some rotten apples in that barrel, and I'm afraid to say that's what people are worried about”.

The proposals have caused outrage within the local community.

Read more: First group of migrants to be sent to Rwanda in two weeks, Home Office says

One resident told LBC he feels the community is being "bulldozed" out of the way so the Home Office can push forward with plans, adding "it's knocked the feet out from underneath everybody".

The man, who wished to remain anonymous said: "I've invested everything I have into building my forever home for my disabled son and my family because this is what we want, this is where we want to be, this is always going to be home. Even if we want to move now we can't get away... the house sales, everything, is falling through."

It emerged this month during a parish meeting that Priti Patel is due to visit Linton-on-Ouse to hear concerns from locals about the reception centre.

Residents have since told LBC they have not had any further information about when the Home Secretary intends to speak to villagers.

Aundrea Watson told the parish meeting this month: "What you're not taking on board is the fact that 1,500 men of unknown origin are coming to our village of 600 adults.

"In proportion, that's about 300 women to 1,500 men."

Mrs Watson appeared on the verge of tears as she said: "I walk my dog and I have children, and many others do in the village. We don't feel we are going to be able to do this."

Home Office officials told the meeting that they want to start "drop-in sessions" to understand villagers’ concerns.

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