Tory MP considers legal challenge against Home Office plans for North Yorkshire asylum centre

Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake has said he will consider taking legal action to block controversial Government plans to open a new asylum centre in a North Yorkshire village.

The Thirsk and Malton MP said that he and the Conservative leader of Hambleton Council Mark Robson had met Immigration Minister Kevin Foster and Home Office officials on Tuesday to discuss the plans for the former RAF site in Linton-on-Ouse.

In a statement on his website, Mr Hollinrake said that despite a "very frank exchange of views" in which they asked the Government to reconsider the plan, the Home Office made clear it intends to go ahead with the proposals.

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He said he and Coun Robson would now be exploring options, "including legal challenge".

A view of RAF Linton-on-Ouse in North Yorkshire.

Mr Hollinrake said he has also raised the matter in recent days with Prime Minister Boris Johnson prior to Tuesday's meeting with the Home Office representatives.

He said: "Coun Robson and and I made clear our disappointment at the lack of consultation and expressed the points that have been raised by residents (and additional ones). It simply should not be the case that the site's availability alone determines its suitability. Nevertheless, it does appear the Home Office will proceed with the plans without pause for reflection. As such, Cllr Robson and I will explore options, including legal challenge."

It is intended that Linton-on-Ouse, about eight miles from York, will become the first place in the UK to house one of the new reception centres announced by the Government as part of a new approach to immigration that will also see some asylum seekers sent to live in Rwanda.

RAF Linton-on-Ouse had been in operation for almost a century and was most recently used as a fast jet training facility. The Duke of Cambridge trained there in 2008.

But in recent times, it has been described as a "ghost town" after the RAF moved operations to Wales - leading to empty properties and reduced numbers at the local primary school.

The centre is due to open within the next six weeks, with up to 1,500 men living at the new facility. Linton Parish Council has warned the number of new arrivals would be "overwhelming" for the village, which currently has a population of around 1,200 people.

A meeting in the village on Thursday night heard that police and fire services had not been consulted about the plans before they were unveiled.

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