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RAF Scampton: Aerial photos show portacabins lining runway ahead of asylum seekers’ arrival

A series of aerial photos show portacabins lining the runways of the former RAF Scampton base, which is set to house 2,000 male asylum seekers. The high-up pictures were snapped by Lincolnshire photographer Dean Foreman on Sunday, January 28 using a drone.

They reveal a large concentration of portacabins, which appear to form a central hub strewn with cables, and a smaller cluster in the distance. A couple of construction vehicles can be seen, though the Home Office has kept tight-lipped about the progress it is making on the site.

Officials have also been reticent about the arrival of the asylum seekers, which is expected to be staggered, and no date has yet been set. Portacabins were seen being “craned into” the Dam Busters’ former home back in August, which caused consternation among residents who were still hopeful about the ultimately unsuccessful judicial review.

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The sight of the temporary accommodation still elicits strong reactions from campaigners, with one dubbing it a “ridiculous waste of money”. Others said the cabins looked as though they were packed in tightly together and doubted they would be comfortable for the temporary residents.

An aerial photo of RAF Scampton, showing portacabins on the runway and residents' homes in the distance.
Work is progressing on the controversial camp.

Another speculated the portacabins shown were more likely communal facilities and suggested they would form cookhouses, social areas and schools. Even though the base is taking shape, campaigners remain firmly against the Government’s plans for RAF Scampton, which is steeped in heritage.

A top-down view of the portacabins.
The base used to be home to the Dam Busters.

Having been home to the 617 Squadron, which targeted German dams during the Second World War, many residents regard it as a “betrayal” and fear it could have permanently derailed plans for a £300m cultural centre. Activists have been camping outside of the main gates for months and previously said that even defeat in the High Court, where the plans were ruled lawful, would not deter them.

Rumours circulated the first lot of 40 asylum seekers was to move in before the end of 2023, but this did not materialise. The Home Office has previously said it is confident with its plans for the site and described the accommodation as “basic, safe and secure”.

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