Stop Linton on Ouse Asylum Centre
Stop Linton on Ouse Asylum Centre
Why this petition matters
The UK Government has recently announced that Linton on Ouse will house an Asylum Reception Centre. The new centre will hold a minimum of 1500 single adult males who have travelled to the UK from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, & Afghanistan. This is on a rolling basis as asylum seekers come and go. The Home Office accepted that the number of asylum seekers to be held at the centre could rise above 1500.
Based on latest electoral figures, Linton on Ouse has an adult population of circa 700
Such centres have been heavily criticised in the past, with court's ruling the site at Napier Barracks and Pennaly Barracks not fit for purpose, resulting in arson, violence, poor mental health amongst refugees, suicide attempts, COVID outbreaks and anti social behaviour. Furthermore, these sites saw protests by right wing parties resulting in a number of arrests and additional policing. Such sites are not beneficial to either the asylum seekers or the general population. Despite this, a new site has been sanctioned to open in Linton on Ouse and on a much larger scale.
Wether you support the Conservative party or not, whether you are pro immigration or not, this scheme is flawed on a number of levels as outlined below. The below statements have either been confirmed by the UK Home Office in a Parish Council Meeting or by Local MPs / Police Representatives in a separate village meeting.
- It has been confirmed that 10% of the asylum seekers at the centre will be held under "detained" conditions and not allowed to leave the site. This is contradictory to the High Court ruling which sets out asylum seekers do have the right to roam. It is also unclear what conditions will be like for those who are detained.
- Local refugee charity's object to the site location, stating a rural area is not conducive to a positive experience and can cause additional stress on asylum seekers due to lack of access to services and amenities.
- When asked wether charity groups could access the site, the UK Home Office confirmed it would be "tightly controlled". It is unknown whether access to legal representatives would be treated in the same way.
- When asked if the community could assist with integration days on site, the UK Home office confirmed it would be "tightly controlled"
- To clarify, the Home Office have confirmed that the empty RAF houses in the village will not be used to house asylum seekers as they are being sold privately
- The Home Office confirmed the current living facilities in the centre need redevelopment as a number of the accomodation blocks do not meet current H&S / Building regulations.
- Military Personnel working at the RAF base have confirmed there is not sufficient accommodation on site to house the volume of refugees outlined above.
- The UK Home Office confirmed that Greek style shipping containers could still be used to house refugees. Poor living conditions will place immense pressure on the asylum seekers mental health. Note the findings in the Napier Barricks review confirmed this to be a key factor in unrest amongst refugees (link to findings below)
- The centre has limited perimeter fencing and security and as such it presents a risk that right wing parties can access the site. Note right wing protests and arrests have been a theme across all centres of such kind to date. It's Important to note that past sites were had secure perimeter fencing. Since the news broke a week ago, right wing representatives have been making appearances in the village.
- The UK home Office were unaware that a Right Wing Group recently gained access to a nearby Asylum Hotel.
- The Home Office have not considered the impact on local transport routes, nor commented how/when people will get transported to the centre. Access to the site is poor due to its rural location. The only routes require navigating tight roads, blind bends and a Grade 2 listed wooden toll bridge which has a weight limit.
- The Home Office were unaware of the regular power cuts in the area and the impact that can have on security measures
- The Home Office were unaware of the village sewage problems and the impact an additional 1500 people would place on this.
- The area has significant flooding each year
- There is a primary school and play park within close proximity to the center entrance (less than 500-1000 meters
- There are no other amenities in the village other than one local shop. There are 4 buses a day.
Legality & Policy
- There is a repeat pattern of bullying behaviour by the UK Home Office over the last 3 years (Napier, Pennaly, Brook House)
- Despite independent reviews and findings outlining the need to consult early with local authorities and government, no consultation has ever taken place in any scheme of this kind.
- Hambleton District Council have commenced legal action against the UK Government, calling for a Judicial Review, as well as submitting an injunction for all work on the centre to cease until the review can be concluded. The UK Government have confirmed they intend to continue regardless.
- There has been no planning application made regarding a change of land use in this scheme or other schemes of this nature
- The site location goes against UK Home Office policy and Local MPs are strongly against the proposal. Please note, Priti Patel, overturned a decision to base a small number of Asylum Seekers within her own constituency (population 25,000) as it was deemed the site was to rural.
- It is unclear how this ties into the UK immigration policy and Rwanda agreement as the UK Home Office have confirmed that the asylum seekers at this base are not in scope to be located to Rwanda and will be housed within the UK
- There is no work force to man the camp in the immediate vicinity, and insufficient travel links for commuters.
Local & Wider Community
- The UK Home Office have confirmed that to date, no risk assessment to the local community has been undertaken.
- The local MP acknowledged the increased security risks as a result of the centre being opened.
- The UK Home Office were unaware of recent troubles at local Asylum Hotels which included an incident involving a machete and the need for police armed response teams.
- North Yorkshire Police have concerns over their ability to police the area. Due to the lack of consultation this was not allocated resource in their 2022 budget.
- North Yorkshire Police confirmed that resource will have to be diverted from the wider communities of North Yorkshire, impacting the ability to police other areas.
- North Yorkshire Police were not consulted and at present have no safeguarding plans in place.
- North Yorkshire Fire Service were not consulted and it's unclear what resource they have to cover the area.
- The UK Home Office could not advise what measures will be put in place to reassure the community
- The UK Home Office were unable to confirm how long the centre would be open for.
- The centre will be open door and it's residents free to roam. The Home Office and North Yorkshire Police understands how intimidating this can be for females and the elderly given the large volume (minimum 1500) and small village population, circa 700-1000.
- Refugees are asked to be back by 10pm each night. If not, they will get a phone call to make sure they are ok. It is unclear how this curfew can be enforced and futhermore who will deal with the issue of refugees who miss this curfew or abscond from the base. What is known, is the UK Home Office stated a missing person report would be completed which suggests this will be more demand on local policing.
- No details have been provided outlining why 10% of the asylum seekers will be detained and for what reason. Furthermore, as the site is not secure and has large areas unfenced, it remains unclear how this will be monitored/policed.
- Private buses are being put on to transport the refugees into York for day trips. This is not just a village issue anymore and impacts multiple comminuties and local authorities.
- North Yorkshire Police confirmed they will have to pull resource from other areas to cover the centre, leaving other areas short on policing.
- Military personnel who were involved in military action in the very countries the asylum seekers are coming from live not only in the village, but inside the site that is to used.
- The military personnel will still be living at the centre when the asylum seekers start to arrive. No consideration has been shown towards the safety and mental well-being of the serving and retired military personnel.
Despite all this, the site is to be in use within the next few weeks.
The local MP has asked the Home Office to PAUSE all progress until proper due diligence and consultation can take place. The Local MP and Refugee Charity's have called on the decision to be reversed as the site is simply not viable and not safe for both the Aslyum Seekers and local community.
How You Can Help
Please sign this petition if you want to highlight your concerns regarding the lack of stakeholder engagement and the decision to use the site for this purpose.
We are hoping to get enough signatures to either cease, or help shape the policy behind Linton on Ouse Asylum Reception Center and as such set precedent for future schemes of this nature.
Home Office Fact Sheet
Government Report on Napier Barricks
Priti Patel Independent Newspaper Article