Council awaits ruling on migrant plan for disused Dambuster base

Wing Commander Guy Gibson with his crew (MoD/Crown copyright/PA)
Wing Commander Guy Gibson with his crew (MoD/Crown copyright/PA)

A council is waiting for a High Court judge’s ruling after arguing that Government plans to use land which once formed part of one of England’s most famous RAF bases to house asylum seekers should be quashed.

West Lindsey District Council, based in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, says a decision to use land at the disused RAF Scampton airfield, where the Dambusters were based during the Second World War, is unlawful.

Mrs Justice Thornton considered arguments at a recent hearing at the High Court in London and is listed to deliver a ruling on Wednesday.

RAF Scampton court case
A protest in Lincoln against the Government’s plan to house migrants at RAF Scampton (PA)

Braintree District Council, which is based Braintree, Essex, has made a similar complaint in relation to plans for land that once formed part of nearby RAF Wethersfield.

A local resident, Gabriel Clarke-Holland, is also challenging plans for Wethersfield.

Ministers say the claims should be dismissed.

Lawyers representing councils have made complaints about ministers’ use of planning rules.

They say ministers cannot rely on “permitted development rights” because there is no “emergency”.

Lawyers have also raised concerns about migrants being housed for longer than an initially envisaged 12 months.

Home Office ministers and Levelling Up, Housing and Communities ministers are fighting the claims.

Nineteen Lancaster bombers, crewed by 133 airmen, took part in Operation Chastise on the night of May 16-17 1943, which is now known as the Dambusters Raid.

Led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson, the raid targeted three dams in the industrialised Ruhr region of Germany using the “bouncing bomb” invented by Barnes Wallis.

They successfully breached the Mohne and Eder dams, and the Sorpe was damaged.