Plans to move a reported 1,500 asylum seekers into the historic headquarters of the Dambusters during World War II have been blasted as ‘absolutely insane’.
The Lincolnshire base RAF Scampton, which has been earmarked by the council for a £300m regeneration scheme, was home to the 617 Squadron and has been used as a museum commemorating the achievements of the unit until recently.
The site has also been touted as the North’s ‘biggest regeneration and levelling up project’ after a £300m deal was struck last week to bring aviation, space, education and hospitality industries to the site – creating thousands of jobs.
However, The Sun reports that plans are in the work to turn the base into a makeshift asylum detention centre as part of the government’s attempts to ramp up deportation efforts.
Elsewhere, Essex’s Braintree District Council in Essex also confirmed it had been approached by the Department for Levelling Up to potentially allow the use of MPD Wethersfield as another asylum seeker centre.
The officer of the Dambuster’s commanding officer, Sir Guy Gibson, is reportedly being stripped bare, along with the airbase’s museum. The Officers Mess is also set to be demolished.
The development comes after it was reported that the Home Office was negotiating to secure two sites from the Ministry of Defence which would be used as asylum accommodation centres to reduce government spending on costly hotels.
The rapid change in use of the base has been blasted by prominent historian James Holland who has said that as the ‘demolition’ occurred on the 80th anniversary of the Dambuster’s efforts it is in particularly poor taste.
He said: ‘The Red Arrows have been told their air space clearance…will be revoked on 1 April.
‘Because the Home Office want to turn it…into a Refugee Detention Centre.’
‘Obviously, refugees need to be housed but why there?
‘Where there are listed buildings, so much heritage, and where there are such brilliant development plans in place and where such a plan is so desperately needed.
‘It’s absolutely insane. A desecration. And in the 80th anniversary year of the Dams Raid? Has this Govt gone totally mad???