Council reaches ‘agreement in principle’ with the Home Office on dual use of former RAF Scampton site

Man stood outside a gate with a poppy on it.

West Lindsey District Council has reached an agreement with the Home Office to explore the temporary, dual use of the former RAF Scampton site.

The agreement in principle has been signed which marks a significant step forward in securing the council’s vision to deliver its regeneration plans for the site through collaboration. Under the agreement, outstanding legal action will be withdrawn.

The Home Office, which has planning permission, (following a Special Development Order) can use the site for a fixed period of time, up to October 2027 and has agreed to house a significantly reduced number of asylum seekers.

The agreement also allows the council to use a portion of the land to pursue the regeneration of the site with its preferred development partner, Scampton Holdings Limited. The Home Office will retain just 10% of the site to temporarily house up to 800 asylum seekers – compared to the original 2,000.

Leader of West Lindsey District Council, Cllr Trevor Young said the agreement is the culmination of weeks of negotiations with the Home Office and the result provides the community and investors greater certainty for the long-term future of the site. He said: 

“The specific details of the agreement are still being finalised, but this agreement paves the way forward for the short-term and long-term use of the site.

“The council have always been clear that whilst it is our view that the site is unsuitable for large scale asylum accommodation, protecting the investment and regeneration plans for the site is a priority. This agreement provides the principles by which we can collaborate to unlock our investment and regeneration plan by working with the Home Office through a shared use proposal."

Cllr Young thanked the community for its continued support and said the council will focus its scrutiny and challenge to ensure the impact of asylum accommodation on the local community is as little as possible. 

The Home Office has committed to working with the council and Historic England to protect the heritage of the site, which is the former home of the Dambusters. 

Two listed hangars, the listed officers’ mess and Wing Commander Guy Gibson’s dog’s grave will be transferred to West Lindsey District Council once a legal agreement is in place, with the remaining listed hangars being transferred in 2026. 

As previously announced, the £300 million of investment into the regeneration of the former RAF Scampton will preserve, protect, and enhance the site by providing aviation heritage, business, aerospace, space and education opportunities.

Sally Grindrod-Smith, Director of Planning, Regeneration and Communities at West Lindsey District Council said: 

“This marks a turning point in the council’s journey to protect the £300 million investment and regeneration plan. Our strategy to challenge every detail and hold the Home Office to account has successfully delivered the conditions in which the opportunity to collaborate and deliver a temporary, shared use of the site now exists. 

“This includes a significant reduction in operating capacity of the asylum accommodation centre, a vastly reduced Home Office footprint, and a suite of conditions on the Special Development Order designed to mitigate the impact of the development.”

The council will work with the Home Office to deliver a detailed legal framework which will provide the council and our Preferred Development Partner, Scampton Holdings Limited, with the arrangements necessary to finalise the required contracts and unlock the investment and regeneration plan. 

Mrs Grindrod-Smith explained there is still a ‘huge amount of detail to work through. 

“I am confident that over the coming months we can continue to use our energy and passion to protect this site and to develop an innovative and creative shared use proposal which allows for the kickstarting of plans to bring significant investment into West Lindsey and Lincolnshire.” 

The council and Home Office will now work together at pace to jointly consider the details of delivering a temporary shared use of the site. 

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