Pretty country village to house asylum seekers but residents 'were unaware'

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Pretty country village to house asylum seekers but residents 'were unaware'

Residents in Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire, were not briefed or consulted on the plans, it is believed. The UK migrants will be held in "Greek-st

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Residents in Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire, were not briefed or consulted on the plans, it is believed. The UK migrants will be held in “Greek-style reception centres”, including the one at the RAF base, before they are flown 4,000 miles away to Rwanda to have their asylum claims processed. 

Accommodation for asylum seekers will be set up, while a processing centre will also be built in Linton-on-Ouse.

Kevin Hollinrake, Tory MP for Thirsk and Malton, has flagged concerns constituents have shared regarding the move. He is in discussions with the government about how to minimise “disturbance” to the approximate 1,000 residents in the village, Yorkshire Live says.

The new facility will house both migrants who arrive in the UK on boats, and Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war with Russia.

Mr Hollinrake said: “I have recently met with the Immigration Minister following the announcement the RAF site at Linton-on-Ouse will be used as an asylum seeker accommodation and processing centre. It forms part of increase in capacity measure to deliver more timely decisions.

“I appreciate my constituents may have a number of questions about this site, but it is important to note these claims must be processed somewhere and in a humane and managed manner. I want to assure constituents I will be working closely with the Home Office on this throughout.

“It is crucial that those being processed are housed in suitable and appropriate settings, with recreation and social facilities to enable those individuals to live as normal a life as possible. I have been assured the time limit for any asylum seekers to remain the site will be 180 days and I have ensured the Minister is clear this must be stuck to, to ensure those waiting for decisions are not unduly delayed.”

The RAF base has lain empty since 2020, when the Ministry of Defence announced it would no longer be actively using the site. It was expected to be sold in the coming years, but the government has now revealed a new use for the 680-acre facility.

It is anticipated up to 300 jobs could be created on the RAF base, including “a number of new business opportunities in catering and other areas”.

But Mr Hollinrake, who has been MP for the area for seven years, added: “There are a number of conditions I wanted to ensure were considered in advance of the site opening.

“I have made it clear the local community must be at the heart of these plans, prioritising those in the area for any jobs which may be required at the site.

“I have spoken to other members of parliament who already have similar facilities in their areas. Initial concerns around disturbance to local communities has not been borne out in practice, so hopefully this will be the case here also.

“I have also asked the Minister if he can consider opening the site up to Ukrainian refugees, given the heartwarming response from Thirsk and Malton constituents to the crisis.

“I will keep constituents updated with any further developments.”

The UK has secured a £120million deal with Rwanda for the new scheme.

According to campaign group Human Rights Watch, “arbitrary detention, ill-treatment, and torture in official and unofficial detention facilities is commonplace, and fair trial standards are routinely flouted in many sensitive political cases, in which security-related charges are often used to prosecute prominent government critics. Arbitrary detention and mistreatment of street children, sex workers and petty vendors occurs widely.”

However, Tory minister Simon Hart told Sky News: “Rwanda is an improving economy with a good human rights record and a good record as far as migrants are concerned.

“So it would be a natural fit as far as it is concerned, Denmark are looking at a very similar scheme.”



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