A protester has pitched up a tent outside RAF Scampton and will be living there “for the foreseeable”. Sarah Carter is a resident on the former RAF base and is the leader of Save Our Scampton – a protest group which opposes the Home Office’s plans to turn the historic base into an asylum centre.
The Home Office plans to gradually increase the number of asylum seekers accommodated at the site over time, with up to 2,000 expected in total with the first group arriving this Autumn. West Lindsey District Council recently issued a stop notice to prevent the Home Office from continuing work at the former home of the Dambusters.
However, local residents, including Ms Carter, have reported seeing vans and lorries still entering the site. Speaking about why she has set up a tent, she said: “Up until a few days ago it was planned that people were going to move in tomorrow. As they haven’t made the site safe and secure for the children and families, we need to be keeping an eye on when they do move people in.
“Now that there’s a stop notice, there shouldn’t be anyone coming or going. Anyone that is coming on site is getting reported to the council. If needs be, we’ll be up at the other gates as well.”
Ms Carter has received lots of support from the local community and passers-by. She added: “I’ve cried several times already. People have been coming and giving me a hug and I’ve never met them. Everyone has been so lovely and bringing biscuits, it’s been quite overwhelming.”
Bosses at West Lindsey District Council will go before the High Court in London on Tuesday, October 31 and Wednesday, November 1, arguing that the former airbase is unsuitable for the scheme. Ms Carter said: “We’re here to try and delay things until the judicial review when we win, and then we can start waving [the Home Office] off as they leave the camp.”
A £300 million enterprise, tourism and heritage project led by Scampton Holdings Ltd promised to bring thousands of jobs to the area, but this has been scuppered by the government’s asylum centre plans. A Home Office spokesperson said: “Delivering accommodation on surplus military sites provides cheaper and more orderly, suitable accommodation for those arriving in small boats whilst helping to reduce the use of hotels.
“We are confident our project, which will house asylum seekers in basic, safe and secure accommodation, meets the planning requirements.”