Aerial photos taken today show the new asylum detention centre at the former home of the Dambusters HQ where 2,000 migrants could be housed, amid the Home Office being hit with a legal notice to halt work.
Rows of portable cabins have been placed on RAF Scampton’s airfield, in Lincolnshire, with diggers seen parked up inside the temporary metal fencing alongside neat rows of wooden crates, stacked pallets, and ring-fenced building materials.
The Home Office wanted the huge detention centre at the former Red Arrows base to be full by Christmas, according to residents, but has faced fierce criticism from locals with a campaign group being backed by Conservative MP and former defence committee member Sir Edward Leigh.
West Lindsey District Council (WLDC) served a notice in September on the Home Office to halt work which also ordered the site to be returned to its original condition.
But it was ‘inundated’ with evidence work was continuing, although it is understood this has now stopped. A judicial review over the proposals are set to be heard on October 31.
The Home Office is currently having to dish out £8million a day on hotel bills to accommodate migrants and argue large accommodation sites are needed to slash the ‘unacceptable’ cost.
It comes as the first asylum seekers returned to the Bibby Stockholm today, two months after the barge was evacuated following the discovery of the deadly bacteria Legionella.
The 617 Squadron, known as The Dambusters, was formed at the airfield and famed for its mission in May 1943 by 19 Lancaster bombers to destroy three dams in the Ruhr Valley – Germany’s industrial heartland – with ‘bouncing bombs’.
WLDC said work to prepare the site – which included moving in accommodation blocks – had broken rules over listed buildings and archaeology when it served the order last month.
It said the breaches related to the installation of fences, ‘intrusive’ surveying works, groundworks and connections to utilities which had ‘the potential to cause irreversible damage to important heritage assets’.
Sir Edward, the MP for Gainsborough, lashed out at the Home Office for not complying with the order when it was issued although he said he understood work had now stopped.
He wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, on October 4: ‘I understand from @WestLindseyDC that the Home Office have informed them they are now complying with the stop notice.
‘I have repeatedly urged them to do so. Let’s hope they are fully compliant but they should have complied from the start the moment it was issued.’
The local authority had been ‘inundated’ with information from local residents sharing evidence of the work still continuing to take place.
A WLDC spokesperson said this was backed up by council officers who visited the site on October 13 when they witnessed an increase in the number of portable buildings on the site.