ABOVE: A temporary dual use agreement will allow RAF Scampton’s £300 million regeneration plan to ‘preserve, protect and enhance the site’ to proceed

West Lindsey District Council (WLDC) has reached an ‘agreement in principle’ with the Home Office to explore the ‘temporary, dual use of the former RAF Scampton site,’ which was closed in September 2022 and subsequently earmarked as a potential base to house asylum seekers.

Despite the Home Office having planning permission (following a Special Development Order) to use the site up until October 2027 to provide ‘basic and functional accommodation’ for up to 2,000 single male adult asylum seekers, its progress been fraught with legal challenges. Under the new agreement – which will see the Home Office retain just 10% of the site – ‘outstanding legal action will be withdrawn,’ confirmed WLDC.

The new arrangement would allow the council to use a portion of the land to pursue the regeneration of the site with its preferred development partner, Scampton Holdings. Although specific details are yet to be finalised, it is understood that WLDC will initially take possession of two listed hangars, the listed officer’s mess and Wing Commander Guy Gibson’s dog’s grave. The remaining listed hangars would then be transferred in 2026.

“The council have always been clear that whilst it is our view that the site is unsuitable for large scale asylum accommodation, protecting the investment and regeneration plans for the site is a priority,” explained the leader of WLDC, Councillor Trevor Young (pictured above). “This agreement paves the way forward for the short-term and long-term use of the site”.

Scampton Holdings Chairman Peter Hewitt ‘cautiously welcomed’ the announcement, commenting: “Ideally, we should have no migrants on that site. Having migrants on the site constrains us [from really developing’ the site to its true potential, given that there is probably a three-year timescale on this before we get possession of the whole site”. Under the new negotiations, the Home Office will look to temporarily house up to 800 asylum seekers on the site instead of its initial figure of 2,000.

IMAGE: WEST LINDSEY DISTRICT COUNCIL