SCORES of villagers protested last night against plans to open a reception centre near York for up to 1,500 asylum seekers.

Angry residents of Linton on Ouse staged a demonstration outside the village hall, prior to a special parish council meeting called to discuss the proposals for the former RAF Linton on Ouse base.

They held banners with messages such as "Asylum centre. Wrong plan, wrong place."

Inside the hall, villagers focussed their anger on Home Office officials, who have said they intend to bring 60 asylum seekers to the site by the end of the month, despite claims that neither the base nor the emergency services are ready for them.

Officials were heckled as they said they were committed to working with the local community, and one woman in the audience was applauded when she said: "Whatever you say, you are not going to give residents any peace of mind."

Another resident asked: "Are they allowed the freedom of the village? Where is the security? Individuals can go where they want.Who is supervising them?"

A senior North Yorkshire Police officer said there had been an increase in patrols and he would expect his officers to listen to residents' concerns.

He said policing would be increased, and two police officers - from the community, who understood the community - would be on patrol between 8.30 and midnight every day.

North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Zoe Metcalfe, said this was only the initial plan for when 60 asylum seekers were on the site.

A resident claimed that a police officer had advised that women should not go out in short skirts, but the police officer said it would be unacceptable for any officer to have said that.

Ms Metcalfe said she did not want anyone to feel unsafe in their community and it was her job to make people feel safe. "I am not far away. We are going to do everything we can to make you feel safe."

A resident won prolonged applause when she said: "People are upset. 1,500 men are coming to our village of 600 adults. What are you doing to carry out a proper impact assessment?"

Another upset resident said: "I don't think you are grasping the concept of what you are doing to our community."

Another resident said every house sale had fallen through in the village since the plans were announced. She said people had to seek planning permission to build an extension, but the biggest possible change to the village was happening without this democractic process.

Meanwhile, the Linton-on-Ouse Action Group (LoOAG) has welcomed a vote of no confidence in the Home Office which was passed overwhelmingly by North Yorkshire county councillors from across the political spectrum on Wednesday.

Group spokesperson Dr Olga Matthias said the Government believes it had ‘mastered the dark art of control over us.’

She said: “In what now feels like a concerted effort, they have ignored established processes and protocols. The Home Office, which should be at the forefront of the overarching objective of government – to keep its citizens safe – has set out to destroy this community and our way of life.

“With no consultation, no planning permission and no risk assessments on any front, and despite overwhelming opposition from all sides, they are ploughing ahead with an insane plan to place 1,500 asylum seekers in a rural village."