March 31, 2023 5.30 pm This story is over 13 months old

RAF Scampton: Everything we know about the migrant camp plans so far

The news has jeopardised what leaders called a ‘landmark deal’

By Local Democracy Reporter

RAF Scampton is set to become one of two military bases in the UK to house asylum seekers but council leaders say it couldn’t have come at a worse time.

The news has thrown a spanner into the gears of an ambitious £300million heritage, tourism and enterprise project which leaders called a ‘landmark deal’.

The project would see the site continue as an operational airfield and would have brought thousands of highly-skilled jobs.

However, there are now concerns over whether it will happen at all.

Here’s everything we know so far about the plans to transform the former RAF base into a migrant camp.

How many asylum seekers are being housed?

According to a statement from the Home Office, RAF Scampton will house up to 2000 men, starting with 200.

In total there will be 3,700 men are to be housed across RAF Scampton and another surplus military site in Wethersfield in Essex.

When will the site open?

Physical works to make the former RAF base suitable for asylum seekers are set to begin shortly. Migrants will then be moved onto the site in a phased approach with numbers increasing over time.

Save Our Scampton sign protesting Home Office plans to house asylum seekers on former RAF Scampton | Photo: The Lincolnite

How long will they be here for?

It’s understood that the housing centre will be temporary, but no indication has yet been given on how that will be.

Several hotels in Skegness have recently had their asylum seeker housing contracts extended up until next year and some believe RAF Scampton could be of a similar timeframe.

However, there are also rumours that it could be operational for up to three years.

Will they be able to come and go as they please?

The site is self-contained, although migrants living on the premises will be free to come and go.

Reports suggest that if an asylum seeker is not back by 11pm, the team would make a call to the individual to ensure their safety. However, the Home Office stresses this is not by any means a curfew.

What will the accommodation look like?

During a public meeting last week, locals were shocked to hear that the refugees could be housed in shipping containers along the runway.

Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick clarified that they will be portacabins which will “meet the essential living needs and nothing more.”

West Lindsey District Council Leader Owen Bierley previously raised concerns over the migrant camp as he felt the site would be “unsuitable” due to the layout of the base and the metal fences surrounding it.

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Are transport services being provided?

Transport services to nearby towns and cities will be available to those living at the camp, presumably meaning those at Scampton will be able to travel to Lincoln.

They are also free to come and go as they please.

Who will be running the camp?

RAF Scampton will be operated under the supervision of the Home Office who will be working closely with local police forces and Ministry of Defence (MoD) teams to ensure proper security arrangements are in place.

In the past few weeks, Serco, the contractor responsible for housing asylum seekers have published job adverts for ‘Housing Officers’ at the site.

They were taken down just days later, although Indeed says this could have been due to them reviewing applications.

Serco has begun recruiting for RAF Scampton staff | Photo: Indeed

What has the reaction been?

Villagers in Scampton are outraged with the news with ‘Save our Scampton” signs being hung up around the area.

As of Friday, a petition to “Stop RAF Scampton Being Turner into a Detention Camp” has also passed 57,000 signatures.

Save Our Scampton signs have started to appear in the area. | Image: Melanie & David Neham

Scampton Councillor Roger Patterson (Conservative) said he was disgusted and that the loss of the £300m redevelopment deal was “scandalous”.

He insisted the site was “totally unsuitable” for housing anyone.

Scampton Holdings Limited Ltd, the developer behind the deal, has even issued a call to arms and is reportedly talking to government officials including Home Secretary Stella Braverman, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Kemi Badenoch.

On the other hand, hoteliers in Skegness are hopeful that the migrant camp will ease the number of asylum seekers being housed along the seafront.

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