Grave warning issued over 'very dangerous' plan to house asylum seekers at ex-RAF site

Grave warning issued over 'very dangerous' plan to house asylum seekers at ex-RAF site

Fatalities could be in store with the Government's new asylum plan, according to a local campaigner

GB News
Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 30/03/2023

- 17:16

Sites in Lincolnshire, Essex and East Sussex have been earmarked as potential destinations for 'several thousand' asylum seekers

Plans to house asylum seekers at ex-RAF sites could lead to fatalities, a local campaigner has warned.

Sites in Lincolnshire, Essex and East Sussex have been earmarked as potential destinations for “several thousand” asylum seekers, Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick announced.

Local communities and MPs have voiced concern over the plans, with a legal challenge for the Government to contend with in the offing.

Speaking on GB News, Alan MacKenzie from The Fields Association, a residents’ group opposing plans to use the abandoned Wethersfield RAF base, warned there is potential for chaotic scenarios in the countryside as thousands of asylum seekers become accustomed to the local area.

RAF Wethersfield, one of the ex-RAF bases being used to house asylum seekers

RAF Wethersfield is being used to house asylum seekers


He told Mark Longhurst: “The problem is, taking them out of hotels and putting them en masse into the middle of nowhere, nine miles away from the nearest A-road and 20 miles away from the M11, no services to speak of.

“The Government is speaking about putting house services on the base, how they are going to get any doctors or dentists to do that, I’ve got no idea.

“It is so far away, in such a remote area. It’s going to be impossible to provide the services which these people really require in order for these people to settle down anywhere and feel comfortable.

“It is a very remote situation, they aren’t detainees, they are allowed to come and go as they please.

“The nearest village, which only has about 700 people, doesn’t even have a shop, it has a community shop.

“It doesn’t have a pub, it hasn’t got those services. The second nearest village is quite a way away.

“To walk anywhere you’re walking on very rural roads which quite frankly is very dangerous, which could result in the worst scenario in fatalities.

“It is a major problem.”

Legal threats from Tories have been put forward following the announcement of the plans, including from senior Conservative Sir Edward Leigh, who described the mover as a “thoroughly bad decision”.

Sir Edward, a former minister who represents Gainsborough in Lincolnshire, said using the former home of the Dambusters RAF squadron could jeopardise a £300 million regeneration project.

Robert Jenrick told the Commons that the Government remains committed to its “legal obligations”.

“Accommodation for migrants should meet their essential living needs and nothing more. Because we cannot risk becoming a magnet for the millions of people who are displaced and seeking better economic prospects,” he said.

RAF Scampton

RAF Scampton, the home of the iconic Dambusters squadron, is also being used to house asylum seekers


Mackenzie outlined on GB News the steps his local authority in Braintree is taking to wrestle with the Government’s controversial plans.

He said: “The local authority here in Braintree has stood up for the community in so far as it realises this is an inappropriate place to be housing so many people.

“They realise it’s almost impossible to provide the services for these people that are required.

“They are taking out an injunction against the Home Office for proceeding along these lines.

“A local resident is also taking out a crowdfunding exercise to aid potential legal action and we will see what Braintree District Council come up with in terms of its injunction.

“But there are issues such as whether the Home Office has taken out any risk assessments whatsoever.

“The site is known to be heavily contaminated. There are toxic chemicals at the base and the amount of asbestos is unreal.”

Robert Jenrick has acknowledged the concerns of local communities, saying: “I know that this decision will have an impact on local and public services. It will also be of great concern to local residents.”

He added: “There are no easy answers… but I do think that placing asylum seekers on well run, large sites with specific facilities provided, having minimal impact upon local communities is the right approach.

“Taking hotels in hotels in relatively ad hoc fashion in town centres, on high streets is not the right way forward. With respect to vessels such as barges or ferries, I do see merit in that.”

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