Parish Council statement following meeting on 21 April

Linton on Ouse Parish Council have known for just over a week about the plans to convert the former RAF Air Base, in the heart of the village, into an Asylum Seekers reception centre.  We know that the site is to provide accommodation for single men.  We expect the total number of residents to be in the region of 1500.  We are very disappointed and concerned that the government did not see fit to apprise the local community of their plans before making the decision to open the centre here.  

The Parish Council understands that the individuals to be housed here are those who have left their homes, families and lives out of desperation.  They have taken huge personal risks to reach the UK out of fear for their lives. As a Parish Council we empathise hugely with their situation. We also  know we represent a community that has demonstrated compassion for the less fortunate  in many ways in the past, and will continue to do so. 

The Parish Council feels however that this site is not a suitable place for a facility such as this, both from the perspective of the village itself, and from the perspective of those who will be housed at the site.  The village currently has a population of under 1000 residents, many who have expressed their deep concerns regarding the failure of the Home Office to adequately assess the sites suitability or the impact it site will have on the village once it is in place. The site will be designed, reportedly, to have every necessary service available to the residents within the complex, but, as we know, they are not detainees and are free to come and go as they wish.  While from a human rights perspective we know this is absolutely right, we also know that this number of adult males together in one place will be overwhelming for a small village, no matter what their circumstances or where they are from. 

We hope the Government will, if this facility goes ahead, show a concerted effort to ensure that every concern of those who live in this village is addressed, whilst also ensuring that the facility serves every need of those who will be spending time there.  Unfortunately, due to the lack of consultation and information from the Government to date, we are sceptical about their commitment to facilitating this. The meeting held on the 21st April did not convince the Parish Council or the residents of Linton that their views will be adequately taken into consideration.