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Council mulling next steps in asylum seekers centre dispute following government response to pre-action letter and planning contravention notice

Lawyers at Hambleton District Council are assessing the Home Office's response to the local authority's pre-action protocol letter threatening potential legal action over plans for an asylum seekers centre in Linton-on-Ouse.

The council instructed lawyers to start work on a legal challenge to the Government's plan in late April.

On 25 May, the council sent a pre-action protocol letter to the Home Office in an attempt to secure information about the plan that the council said it urgently needed to "properly respond to the proposal, assess service, community and financial implications, and take relevant action".

At the same time, the council served a Planning Contravention Notice on the Home Office.

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The Home Office responded to the pre-action letter last week (22 July).

Cllr Mark Robson, Leader of Hambleton District Council, said the Home Office's response is currently being assessed by the council's legal team, "who will then prepare advice which will be considered by both Cabinet and Council, who will then decide the next steps".

He added: "We have also received further responses from the Home Office in relation to the Planning Contravention Notice served in May. These responses are also currently being assessed by our legal team.

"The Home Office has now confirmed that we will be given a 14-day notice period should the decision be taken to begin moving people onto the site at Linton-on-Ouse."

Cllr Robson said: "At present we continue to understand that no final decision has been taken by Ministers to accommodate asylum seekers at RAF Linton.

"Local councillors continue to support and be in dialogue with the local community, and we continue to aim to secure the best possible outcome for everyone."

In April, a Home Office spokesperson said the asylum reception centre at Linton-on-Ouse "will help end our reliance on expensive hotels which are costing the taxpayer £4.7m a day".

Adam Carey

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