April 21, 2023 3.19 pm This story is over 12 months old

Blow for RAF Scampton legal action as Essex High Court bid lost

Government claimed the situation was an emergency

A High Court bid to prevent the Government housing asylum seekers at a former RAF base in Essex has been lost.

Braintree District Council had sought an injunction against the Home Office and Ministry of Defence proposals in a bid to stop the migrant centre being created at RAF Weathersfield.

The move will be a blow for West Lindsey District Council which is examining its own options for legal action over the government’s plans to house up to 1,500 asylum seekers at RAF Scampton.

Braintree District Council said the plans were a breach of planning control, with the provision being used by government to move forward by the plans designed to address emergencies not “mere pressure on resources”.

The government, however, said the “unprecedented” number of asylum seekers arriving in the country, combined with an “absence of suitable accomodation” did constitue an emergency.

The high court judge has ruled that the court did not have the legal power to grant the council‘s application for an injunction.

A spokesperson for West Lindsey District Council said the authority would issue a statement once it had discussed its next steps.

The local authority previously said it was considering legal action, claiming the site isn’t suitable to house up to 2,000 asylum seekers.

pre-action protocol letter was issued shortly after the official announcement, but the Home Office said it was unable to make any substantive response by the deadline of Thursday, April 6.

It would instead would seek to reply by Friday, April 14 – but that date has also now passed.

The plans for RAF Scampton have thrown a spanner into the gears of an ambitious £300 million heritage, tourism and enterprise project which leaders called a ‘landmark deal’.

The council has pledged to safeguard the future of RAF Scampton following the adoption of the Central Lincolnshire Joint Strategy Planning Committee on Friday.

A specific ‘opportunity area’ policy for the former base was included in the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan, which provides framework to ensure any future development of the site is sustainable and holistically planned.

Protests are set to take place by local residents and national campaign groups, including two to be held tomorrow.

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