April 13, 2023 4.00 pm This story is over 7 months old

Council continues fight against Home Office’s Scampton migrant plans

Home Office hasn’t responded to legal letters

By Local Democracy Reporter

West Lindsey District Council has labelled the Home Office’s Scampton migrant camp plans as “irrational” as it continues to threaten legal action.

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

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

Central Lincolnshire covers the three council areas of City of Lincoln, North Kesteven and West Lindsey and also includes a strategic planning partnership with Lincolnshire County Council.

West Lindsey District Council announced it was considering taking legal action against the Home Office after it was confirmed that the former RAF headquarters would be used to house up to 2,000 migrants as they believe the site is not suitable for this kind of accommodation.

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

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

Sally Gringrod-Smith, the council’s Director of Planning, Regeneration and Communities, said: “Despite the council’s ongoing engagement with the Home Office, the only correspondence receives since the issue of the pre-action protocol letter has been to state that they could not make a substantive response by the deadline of April 6 and would seek to reply by April 14.

“In light of this, the council renewed its request that the Home Office take no steps towards the use of RAF Scampton until a substantive response to the council’s pre-action protocol letter has been provided.”

She continued: “Adopting a site-specific policy for RAF Scampton, based on sound evidence and shaped by our community, has been an aspiration of the council since the closure of the base was announced.

“Today (Thursday) is a landmark moment as any future proposals for the site will be required to follow due process and conform with this policy.

“This work demonstrates that the council takes a considered, planned and strategic approach to planning for the long-term development a regeneration needs of our communities.

“It is clear the Home Office’s recent announcement regarding RAF Scampton has not considered the key material planning matters and has not paid due attention to statutory processes.”

|Photo: Councillor Naomi Tweedle

City of Lincoln Councillor Chris Burke (Labour & Co-operative) labelled the creation of the adoption of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan as a “historic decision” as the local councils look to work together on a number of issues including climate change, housing and infrastructure.

Moving forward, the coalition will continue to urge the government to reconsider its approach to undermining the heritage proposal.

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