ABOVE: The MoD first announced the closure of RAF Scampton in 2018  

West Lindsey District Council (WLDC) has lost its bid for a temporary injunction which sought to challenge the Home Office’s plan to house migrants at RAF Scampton.

A Home Office initiative announced in March would see the historical 800-acre area repurposed as accommodation for single adult male asylum seekers, contrary to a £300 million regeneration project already outlined for the site. Speaking on 29 March, Sally Grinndrod-Smith, Director of Planning, Regeneration and Communities at WLDC, noted that the council was in “constant dialogue with the Home Office to seek to demonstrate to them that RAF Scampton would not be an appropriate site for asylum accommodation”; adding that this would “likely curtain the nationally significant plans which the council has been working on since 2018”. She also highlighted that WLDC was “considering all legal options, including urgent judicial review proceedings”.

However, during an interim relief hearing in London on Thursday 11 June– the first legal challenge to the Home Office’s plans – the High Court declined to grant an injunction that would prevent the Home Office moving “materials, equipment or people” on to the former RAF base.

Following the hearing, a statement from WLDC noted: “There was recognition of the significance of the site and the damage to the £300m investment plan caused by the Home Office’s proposals, and we even learnt that senior civil servants made a firm recommendation to the Minister in February not to progress with proposals for accommodating asylum seekers at RAF Scampton”.

Home Office plans would see “surplus military sites” earmarked to accommodate asylum seekers “who enter the UK illegally on small boats,” promising to provide “basic and functional accommodation” that is deemed both appropriate for service users whilst saving the UK taxpayer more than £6 million a day in hotel costs. Last month, the High Court also rejected Braintree District Council’s injunction application to prevent similar accommodation arrangements being implemented at Wethersfield airfield.

Although timescales for the full judicial review are yet to be announced, the Home Office did announce that no asylum seekers would be moved onto the Scampton site until after 3 July.

IMAGE: FLIGHTRADAR24