Linton-on-Ouse – 2022

Commissioner Zoë’s activity regarding Linton-on-Ouse proposals 

LATEST

From: Cheryl Avery
Sent: 14 October 2022 11:07
To: Zoe Metcalfe
Subject: RAF Linton-on-Ouse

Dear Zoe,

I write to update you on the decision of the use of Linton-on-Ouse as an asylum accommodation.

As you will be aware, the Home Office has been exploring the use of Linton-On-Ouse.  On 9th August 2022, the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Defence made a decision to withdraw its offer for the use of the site.

The Home Office has taken the decision not to progress current proposals for use of the site as asylum accommodation.

I want to thank you for your continued support throughout this period and wish you the best for the future.

Kind Regards,

Cheryl Avery
Director for Asylum Accommodation Centres
Home Office | 1st Floor Peel | 2 Marsham Street | London | SW1P 4DF

Timeline

2022

  • 21 April attended the virtual Linton-on-Ouse Parish Council meeting 
  • 23 April attended the in-person Public Meeting 
  • 25 April meeting with the Director of Asylum Accommodation to discuss the issues raised at these meetings 
  • 28 April letter to Priti Patel, Home Secretary expressing concerns with an invitation to meet and discuss further – and a letter to Home Secretary’s officials, making similar points. 
  • 13th May follow-up letter to Priti Patel, Home Secretary for a response to previous letter 
  • 18th May Letter to Priti Patel, Home Secretary asking for further assurance about resources – and offering to work together on community safety resourcing (and for a purposeful pause for that to be done to a high standard, before residents come on site) 
  • 19 May Attended Linton-on-Ouse Parish Council Meeting in the evening 
  • 21 May Attended Linton-on-Ouse organised Coffee Morning and Meeting  
  • 26 May Organised for a Residents Meeting to take place in the Village Hall where members of the local community could come and talk with Commissioner Zoe directly.  
  • 27 May Attended an on-site visit to the proposed Asylum Accommodation at Linton-on-Ouse with the Chief Constable.  
  • 15 June 2022 – Commissioner Zoe receives update from Minister for Safe and Legal Migration in relation to Linton-on-Ouse proposals.
  • 15 July 2022 – Commissioner Zoe writes to the Home Secretary with a financial proposal in relation to financial support required given the estimated additional costs/expenditure.
  • 14 October 2022 – Home Office informs Commissioner of the decision not to progress current proposals for use of the site as asylum accommodation.

Correspondence:

15 June 2022 – Commissioner Zoe receives update from Minister for Safe and Legal Migration in relation to Linton-on-Ouse proposals.

North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Zoë Metcalfe said:

I am pleased that the Minister has replied to my letters outlining my concerns over the proposals to repurpose the old Linton-on-Ouse RAF base as an asylum accommodation centre.

In his letter, Kevin Foster MP, Minister for Safe and Legal Migration has confirmed that they will not accommodate asylum seekers at the RAF Linton-on-Ouse site until it is safe and conforms to all legal requirements, including planning. Only once that is all in place will they make a formal decision on whether to use the site for asylum accommodation.

He also recognises that the anticipated use of Linton-on-Ouse will create additional policing requirements and that the costs associated with this should be met by the Government.

I very much welcome the Minister’s commitment.

I will continue to work closely with the Government and communities at Linton on Ouse to ensure that residents on and off the site are safe, and feel safe – and that the costs of any additional demand on police and fire services, are paid from central funds.

18 May 2022 – Update from Commissioner Zoë on Asylum Accommodation Proposals at Linton-on-Ouse

Commissioner Zoë has had further meetings with the Home Office to discuss the Asylum Accommodation Proposals at the former RAF Linton-on-Ouse.

Whilst we do not yet have a detailed update to share with the public, Commissioner Zoë would like to offer some reassurance that she continues to be the voice of the community and has raised these concerns directly with the Home Office. In a further letter sent to the Home Secretary today, Commissioner Zoë has asked that the timescales for the occupation of the first residents be revisited and paused to allow for community safety resourcing work to be done thoroughly.

Commissioner Zoë will be attending the Parish Council meeting to be held this Thursday and will be present at the Village Coffee morning on Saturday 21st May.

We will continue to provide updates when we have fuller information to share.

Commissioner Zoë is now also meeting weekly with Home Office officials. Those meetings commenced 17 May 2022

4 May 2022 – Commissioner Zoë has written to the Home Secretary regarding the Asylum Accommodation Proposals in Linton-on-Ouse

After meeting with and listening to members of the public and the parish council in Linton-on-Ouse, Commissioner Zoë has written to Priti Patel to share her concerns surrounding asylum accommodation proposals and build on the themes she has already raised with the Home Office.

In her letter, Commissioner Zoë explains that Linton-on-Ouse is an isolated, rural location with a very small subsisting population of circa 600 adults and 100 children. It has limited local amenities, poor public transport and is over ten miles to the nearest city, York. The village has too few local amenities to occupy or serve the needs of the additional residents – understood to be in excess of 500 – proposed to be housed at the RAF site.

There has been no prior engagement with North Yorkshire Police or North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, nor with the Commissioner herself. The extra demand on both these services are a concern, and Commissioner Zoë has detailed these concerns to the Home Secretary, including the cost implications on both services and the challenges of meeting these extra demands over a sustained period.

Commissioner Zoë also expresses her concern over the lack of any consultation with either the community or local stakeholders and how residents have been taken completely by surprise over the proposals. She has asked the Home Secretary to commit to a step change in the approach to public engagement and to keep all residents and all local stakeholders fully informed in future.

Community safety is a priority for Commissioner Zoë, and she has asked the Home Secretary to consider whether Linton-on-Ouse is the appropriate location for the site. Should these proposals proceed (whether in their current form of otherwise), it is vital that they proceed in a way which leaves all current and future residents safe and feeling safe.

As yet, there has been no response to the letter and Commissioner Zoë has offered to meet with the Home Secretary to discuss the proposal further.

As soon as we have a response and further information to report we will provide an update to the public.