Priti Patel has been accused of “hypocrisy” over her department’s intention to relocate asylum seekers to a rural Yorkshire village – two years after she suggested they should not be sent to her own constituency because it is not a “major conurbation.”
Plans to settle more than 1,500 refugees at the former RAF airport in the centre of Linton-on-Ouse have surprised the village, which has only 700 registered voters.
Residents shared their dismay, saying it was the ‘wrong strategy in the wrong place,’ with hundreds of ‘young guys roaming around the village,’ and blamed the Home Secretary for attempting to make their community into France’s ‘Calais Jungle.’
The ‘Guantanomo-on-Ouse’ will double the size of the villagers’ quiet home. They also expressed their dissatisfaction with the lack of facilities, citing the lack of police presence and a “failed” sewage system as examples.
Criticism comes as a reminder that while some asylum seekers are being sent to Rwanda for processing, others will continue to undergo the process in the UK.
Linda Scarbro, 68, claimed that this had provided “no consolation,” and that they had “come as a bolt from the blue.”
“The key people from the village arranged a public meeting. Only a few people from the Home Office came and they declined to attend the second meeting.”
The Home Office claimed that the housing facility was adequate and that it would assist “end our reliance” on costly hotels. It went on to say that consultations with “local stakeholders” were in the works.
People in the community, however, who were not consulted about the plans, were shocked and concerned.
Scarbro said: “The first I knew about it was when it was announced on the local radio. The parish council knew nothing about it, nor did the District Council.
“I do not care about their race or religion. It is the fact you will have 1,500 young men roaming around the village and I don’t know what they are going to do,” the retired librarian continued.
Villagers are also supporting the local council, which is planning to file a legal challenge to the proposal, which will see locals ‘outnumbered’ two-to-one, and has already hired attorneys to draft arguments.
Kevin Hollinrake, the Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton, has already stated that he will ‘fight for these plans to be stopped.’
‘This is not a secure facility, and having such a large volume of young men being housed in Linton-on-Ouse is completely wrong,’ Mr Hollinrake said after a community meeting.
‘The asylum reception centre at Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire, will help end our reliance on expensive hotels, which cost the taxpayer £4.7 million per day,’ a Home Office official said.
‘We are consulting with local stakeholders about the use of the site.
‘The New Plan for Immigration will fix this broken asylum system, allowing us to support those in genuine need while preventing abuse of the system and deterring illegal entry to the UK.’
Retired South Yorkshire Police Superintendent Michael Brown, 88, who has lived in the village for 26 years, said that they are all fed up with the issue.
‘I only came here because it was a quiet village. I am not quite sure what the outcome will be. They cannot keep them in the camp all the time.
‘There is a lot to do to support 1,500 people and they cannot be bringing very much money with them’
‘I do not see how anyone can be in favour of it if they live in the village. If Boris Johnson lived here he would be against it.’