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GPSJ - Autumn 2023

December 2023


District Council issues a Stop Notice to the Home Office at Scampton

West Lindsey District Council’s enforcement officers have today served an Enforcement Notice and a Stop Notice to the Home Office, which calls for all work to cease at RAF Scampton.

It means that all activity using the site as accommodation for asylum seekers must stop, pursuant to section 172 and 183 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) in respect of RAF Scampton.

As previously reported, the Home Office is working on locating 2,000 asylum seekers on the former RAF site at Scampton, with a view to having the site at full capacity by December 2023.

The Council, which is the local planning authority, has raised concerns about the work taking place and first issued a Temporary Stop Notice on September 8. The Council considered that there has been a breach of planning control relating specifically to the Listed Buildings and archaeology on the site.

This notice was followed up with a site visit on Thursday 14 September. During the site visit, it was clear to officers that there has been a breach of planning control.

The breach of planning control is described as without planning permission:

  • The making of a material change of use of the site to accommodate asylum seekers.
  • The carrying out of operational development including the siting of Portakabins to house asylum seekers and significant invasive grounds.

The Council considers it to be in the public interest to take immediate action and therefore the Stop Notice takes place with immediate effect.

Sally Grindrod-Smith, Director of Planning Regeneration and Communities at West Lindsey District Council, said: “At the Site visit last week, officers observed significant works on site that were not considered as part of the Home Office’s Environmental Impact Assessment Screening Request. This means that the impact of the development has not been properly assessed.

“Emergency permitted development rights (pursuant to Schedule 2 Part 19 Class Q of the Town and Country (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2010 (as amended) are only available to the government in a genuine emergency, which has not been proven and when a negative environmental impact assessment screening decision is in place. Additionally, it is clear from the scale of works on Site that this development is not limited to a temporary period of 12 months.”

The Enforcement Notice and the Stop Notice requires that the Home Office:

  • Ceases using the Site as accommodation for asylum seekers.
  • Removes any asylum seekers residing on the Site.
  • Ceases operational development works to Site Portakabins on the site and ancillary works associated with the siting of the Portakabins such as utility connections, any hard standing, fencing to enclose the Portakabins.
  • Ceases all intrusive groundworks on the Site; and
  • Restores the Site to its original condition.

Cllr Trevor Young, Leader of West Lindsey District Council emphasised the point that it is an offence to fail to comply with a Stop Notice.

He said: “From the moment the decision to use RAF Scampton as an asylum accommodation centre was made, the Council have been clear that this is not an appropriate site for this purpose.

“Use of the Site for asylum accommodation puts at risk the £300million investment proposal.

“It is incredibly disappointing that despite repeated assurances that the Site would be safe, legal and compliant, the Home Office has failed to secure appropriate planning permission or to adequately assess the impact of their proposals.

“It is an offence to contravene the Stop Notice and I urge the Home Office to cease all works in line with this legal action.”

A high court date has now been confirmed for West Lindsey District Council’s judicial review, which will take place on 31 October and 1 November.

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