Scampton asylum seekers to be capped by Home Office

The number of asylum seekers housed at a former RAF base in Lincolnshire will be capped at 800, the Home Office has confirmed.

The government originally proposed putting 2,000 men on the RAF Scampton site, but in a letter to Gainsborough MP Sir Edward Leigh, that figure has been cut.

Sir Edward said he is "pleased" by the development, and talks over releasing other parts of the site for a £300m regeneration project are ongoing.

Plans to house migrants at the site, on the outskirts of Lincoln, were first proposed in March last year.

In the letter sent to Mr Leigh the current Minister for Legal Migration and the Border, Tom Pursglove MP, said the decision on the cap had been made following a review.

But the minister also said the 800-person cap will be used for "normal operations", and the Home Office could increase the capacity by 300 "if required".

The future of RAF Scampton, the home of the Dambusters during World War Two, has been unclear since it ceased operations in 2022.

A deal was announced last March to turn the site into a business, aerospace and heritage centre.

But weeks later, the Home Office announced plans to use the base as an asylum centre.

The situation has seen continued protests from local residents and legal challenges from West Lindsey District Council.

A banner at the gates of RAF Scampton
Protests have been taking place outside the site since the Home Office announced plans to house asylum seekers there

Sarah Carter from the Save our Scampton group told the BBC reducing the numbers "doesn't help" with plans to regenerate the site.

"They are using the buildings that will become the heritage centre and that's what we're fighting to save. We won't give up our campaign", she said.

Last month, it was reported the first asylum seekers could arrive at the Lincolnshire site in April, but the Home Office is yet to confirm an exact date.

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