March 29, 2023 6.00 pm This story is over 15 months old

‘We will make them listen’: Residents to fight Home Office plans for RAF Scampton

They’re ‘devastated, frustrated and angry’

Residents have vowed to fight against Home Office plans to use RAF Scampton to house up to 1,500 asylum seekers.

Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick announced Lincolnshire would be included in the plans during a House of Commons speech on Wednesday.

Refugees would be housed in portacabins while they await processing – scuppering £300m redevelopment hopes for the former airbase.

Residents were looking forward to West Lindsey District Council’s plans to redevelop the site and bring in new investment.

Save Our Scampton campaigner and resident Sarah Carter said she was “gutted” by the news.

Sarah Carter is one of the campaigners against the plans. | Image: Daniel Jaines

Her house looks onto the runway where the migrants will be placed.

“We’re devastated, frustrated and angry,” she said.

“We’ve had no consultation on this, no-one’s even considered us residents that live next door.

“It’s our infrastructure, our services and our area that’s going to be affected.

“We will go any and every way to fight this, we’re not just going to stand back and let them run roughshod over us.

“Our voices count, our community counts and we will make them listen.”

Sarah’s window looks out onto the runway of RAF Scampton. | Image: Daniel Jaines

Donna Beale said: “It’s horrible. It makes you feel sick I’m still in shock.”

“We’ve been here 21 years, this community hasn’t just happened, it’s slowly built up and you don’t believe something like this is going to happen.”

Lyn Webb called the plans “absurd”.

“There are more of these men moving in than there are residents that actually live on the base.

People seem to have forgotten that we are still here, we’ve been forgotten about.”

She said the there wasn’t enough police infrastructure to handle any security or safety concerns.

“Everybody was excited” about the council’s investment plans, she added.

Far Right campaigners from outside of the area also turned up and put up banners at the site. | Image: Daniel Jaines

Rachael Green said she was “devastated”.

“We’re absolutely heartbroken. There was a huge investment package ready to go on here to create a great place for the people of Lincolnshire with education, aerospace, the heritage centre.

“It would be fabulous, not just for us, we’d be happy with that because it wouldn’t pose a risk to our security.

“There are plenty of derelict sites that could be used – why here?”

Ally Carter said: “We’re just going to be surrounded.

“We’re all for the £300m that would bring back the site into use and regeneration.

“The MPs only seem to see it as a closed camp.

“We have an amazing community, but it’s now under threat. What’s kept us here, the safety, we don’t have that.”

Ally Carter. | Image: Daniel Jaines

Tina Day added that many of the residents were vulnerable communities such as the elderly, disabled or those with children.

“We don’t feel safe them bringing 1,500 single males across the other side of the fence,” she said.

“The community is very close, friendly, help everyone out. We’re quiet and close to Lincoln but we still feel like we’re in the country, it’s beautiful out here.”

She said West Lindsey District Council’s investment plans “would have been brilliant”.

“Scampton is so well known for the history behind it. It’s got to be protected, preserved. We can’t just let it disappear.”

Labour MP Candidate Hamish Falconer. | Image: Daniel Jaines

Hamish Falconer, Labour MP candidate for Lincoln, said he was “absolutely furious”.

“This area deserves the plan that we have all worked on, which is going to bring exactly the kind of high tech jobs that we need,” he said.

“The Home Office plan is completely unworkable. It will need to be heated, it will need water, it will meet sewage – none of that exists.

“They’re going to spend millions upon millions of pounds, trying to make a political point.

“We will fight this wall of the way there will be a legal case against the home office. This is not over yet.”

Following the announcement, the Home Office said it would “preserve the heritage features of Scampton, recognising the vital role it played in the Second World War”.

“This includes not accommodating migrants in buildings from this period. The Home Office only intends to use Scampton on a temporary basis,” they said.

“We are committed to working with West Lindsay District Council to develop their long-term vision for the site.”

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