West Lindsey District Council is calling on the Prime Minister and other political figures to give assurance that work at RAF Scampton for asylum seeker accommodation has stopped.
The call comes a week after the Council issued an Enforcement Notice and Stop Notice in respect of the unlawful works being undertaken at the site by the Home Office. The Stop Notice required all works on site to stop with immediate effect.
Since the serving of both notices, the Council has continued to receive reports from members of the public, and has also observed the site themselves, and so has reason to believe that works appear to be continuing on the site, despite the enforcement action.
The Council has now sought written assurances from officials, including the Prime Minister, Suella Braverman MP and Robert Jenrick MP, that the Stop Notice will be complied with.
The local authority has also sought access to the site to confirm compliance and to formally record the impact of development that has already taken place. To date, the Council has not received a substantive response to its request, nor has it been permitted access to the site.
The Council is extremely concerned about continued disregard for planning law and moreover the impact this unlawful development is having on RAF Scampton, not least because the site holds such historical significance for the Country, and because the extent of works being undertaken are such that they highly likely to cause irreversible damage, to an extremely important and sensitive site.
Sally Grindrod-Smith, Director of Planning Regeneration and Communities at West Lindsey District Council, said: “Having monitored the site daily for a week, despite not being permitted access, the Council is of the view that the evidence collected clearly shows that the Home Office are in breach of the Stop Notice.
“Government departments benefit from ‘Crown Immunity’ within legal enforcement regulations, meaning Council’s cannot physically enter the site and restrain activity. Crown Immunity is a privilege afforded on the basis of the government abiding by their own laws.
“It is simply unacceptable that the Home Office will not engage in dialogue with the Council, nor allow a site inspection. This would not be tolerated on any other illegal development in our district and we will not tolerate this on such a significant and historic site’.
Cllr Trevor Young, Leader of the Council said: “Despite assurances provided by the Home Office barrister during the legal proceedings that the Home Secretary is an ‘honourable woman’ and despite the Stop Notice, the illegal development of RAF Scampton continues!”
“Equally, the Prime Minister has sought to assure the community that the Home Office are engaging with the Council, this is categorically not happening. We have received no response to the Stop Notice; we have been met by a brick wall.
“The recent online community engagement event was another poor tick box exercise and our community deserve better. Our council will continue to act in the public interest and do everything we can to hold the government to account”.
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 and is set to be heard in the High Court in London. The Council continues to work with Braintree District Council and the other interested parties in preparation for the hearing and will provide updates as regularly as possible.