Asylum centre plan for former RAF base scrapped

Plans to turn a former RAF base into an asylum seeker centre have been withdrawn, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has confirmed.

In April, the Home Office announced plans to turn the site at Linton-on-Ouse, in North Yorkshire, into an asylum centre for up to 1,500 men.

But villagers and Hambleton District Council opposed the decision and said they would mount a legal challenge.

Mr Wallace said he had withdrawn the offer of the site to the Home Office.

He said: “I have withdrawn the offer to the Home Office for that site. It’s been with them for a number of months.

“I have obligations to do something else with that site, and you know there are other sites we made available to the Home Office if they wish to take it up.”

Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake expressed his relief in the wake of the news.

A statement from his office said: “After many months of campaigning with some fantastic and hard-working individuals, this is truly welcome news. It was always the wrong idea and Kevin welcomes the statements of the two candidates agreeing they’d also have planned to scrap the site if they are successful in the leadership contest.

“Serious credit to all the campaigners, local residents, Linton Action Group, North Yorkshire Council, Hambleton District Council, local councillors, the parish council, North Yorkshire Police and the NY Police Commissioner’s office, as well as the media outlets who helped keep pressure on government.

“Linton residents can now rest easy and breathe a sigh of relief. I’m truly delighted for this community who were traumatised by these plans and look forward to working with the involved stakeholders in the future.”

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