March 10, 2023 4.00 pm This story is over 15 months old

£300m Scampton development “could be totally scuppered” by asylum seeker plans

Development partner said plans could not work side-by-side

Plans for a major £300million investment at RAF Scampton could be “totally scuppered” by Home Office plans to house asylum seekers there, the company behind the proposals have said.

West Lindsey District Council confirmed earlier this week that it was working with development partner Scampton Holdings Limited to buy the former RAF Scampton site.

Leaders called it a “landmark deal” which would preserve, protect and enhance the site by providing aviation heritage, business, aerospace, space and aviation technology and education opportunities.

In an interview with BBC Radio Lincolnshire on Friday, Peter Hewitt the boss of Scampton Holdings told Sean Dunderdale warned that the “very exciting opportunity” was at risk.

“This could be totally scuppered by the Home Office ideas of putting some 1500 migrants on the site,” he said.

“What this will do will mean, we just can’t start and deliver this at all, because [people] are contained within fences. They are going to be free to wander around and that, of course, is rather inconsistent with running an airfield and air-side operations.”

Asked if the plans could work side-by-side, Mr Hewitt said: “No, I don’t think it could”.

Plans for the site have been released by West Lindsey District Council.

Details also emerged of the size and location of the migrant camp.

Mr Hewitt said the Home Office were planning to use 5% of the site, which equated to around 40 acres, while West Lindsey wanted to redevelop 130 acres.

“So, actually it comprises 30% of what we’re trying to deliver, but worse than that it is bang in the area that we are planning for the space zone and that is the area that would be first to be developed.

“So no, it just does not work frankly.”

The space area is located at the north east corner of the airfield (in red on the artists’ impressions), alongside the A15.

The asylum seeker refuge would go in the space zone, according to Scampton Holdings boss Peter Hewitt.

Mr Hewitt confirmed a brief meeting with West Lindsey had already been held and said there was “not a huge amount of enthusiasm” for the Home Office plans.

He said there were numerous other sites that could be used which were “far more suitable” and “don’t have the major loss of this major levelling up opportunity”.

“Do you want a £300 million redevelopment with all the benefits that go with that in terms of numbers of people that are going to get jobs, or do you want 1500 migrants? It seems a pretty pretty binary choice to me.”

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