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Council loses high court injunction bid challenging migrant plan for RAF Scampton

NewsCouncil loses high court injunction bid challenging migrant plan for RAF Scampton

A district council has lost its bid for an injunction against the government as it prepares to house asylum seekers at RAF Scampton. The High Court refused the application by West Lindsey District Council (WDLC) at a hearing on Thursday.

Last month, the local authority launched legal action after the Home Office announced plans to convert the RAF site in Lincolnshire into a migrant camp for up to 2,000 asylum seekers.

The council feared the move would affect plans for its £300m regeneration project.

The local authority had asked a judge in London to impose an interim injunction which would prevent the Home Office moving “materials, equipment or people” on to the land at the former base.

The judgement on Thursday was delivered by Mr Justice Kerr.

She dismissed the application after considering arguments from lawyers representing the council and Home Secretary, Suella Braverman.

Hamish Falconer, Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Lincoln, who was at the High Court hearing, said: “The judge is saying if it’s crown land and it’s an emergency, it can go ahead. It seems like we lost quite straightforwardly.

“There is a way to go yet with the judicial review. It’s a really disappointing result.

“The government does need to answer for Lincoln and the public who really care about this.

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“We are going to keep fighting it.”

“The asylum seeker housing plans at RAF Scampton have hugely impacted WLDC’s £300 million “landmark deal” to preserve, protect and enhance the site, including the creation of thousands of jobs.

If the court had granted the interim injunction it would have marked the first hurdle in a lengthy process for the council in its aim to stop the site from being used to house asylum seekers.

Speaking outside court, WLDC’s director of planning, regeneration and communities Sally Grindrod-Smith said the council would now wait for a court date for its full judicial review application.

She said: “I think the judge recognised that the site of RAF Scampton is significant, is prestigious, has huge opportunity for redevelopment and our case has always been about maintaining the £300m investment.

“The full judicial review proceedings will give us the opportunity to set that out in more detail.”

The council, the local planning authority, began legal action after the Home Office announced plans to use a “portion of land” at the former air base for the housing of asylum-seekers earlier this year.

Lawyers representing the Home Secretary said the judge should not impose an interim injunction.

The council says Home Office plans to house asylum-seekers at Scampton do not take account of proposals to regenerate the site and are irrational.

It also says there is “no emergency.”

Paul Brown KC, who led the Home Secretary’s legal team, told the judge that ministers had a duty to house asylum-seekers who would otherwise be destitute.

He said the number of asylum-seekers needing accommodation was at “record levels”.

Mr Brown said the proposed use of the site was permitted under town and country planning rules.

Mr Justice Kerr indicated that judges would now have to consider the next stage of the litigation, whether the council had an arguable case and whether a trial should be held.

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