PLANS for an asylum seeker accommodation centre near York are now put on hold until it can be made safe.

Zoe Metcalfe, North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, has received a response from the Home Office, after she raised concerns over the Linton-on-Ouse proposals to repurpose the old RAF base as an asylum seeker accommodation centre.

The Home Office Minister for Safe and Legal Migration, Kevin Foster MP, has confirmed that the site will not accommodate asylum seekers until it is deemed to be safe and conforms to all legal requirements, including the planning.

Once that is satisfied, the Home Office will then make a formal decision on whether to use the site for asylum accommodation.

Ms Metcalfe said: “I am pleased that the Minister has replied to my letters outlining my concerns over the proposals to repurpose the old Linton-on-Ouse RAF base as an asylum accommodation centre.

“He also recognises that the anticipated use of Linton-on-Ouse will create additional policing requirements and that the costs associated with this should be met by the Government.

“I very much welcome the Minister’s commitment.

“I will continue to work closely with the Government and communities at Linton-on-Ouse to ensure that residents on and off the site are safe and feel safe - and that the costs of any additional demand on police and fire services, are paid from central funds.”

As previously reported in The Press, the Home Office stated that the Linton-on-Ouse site would house 1,500 ‘destitute single adult male asylum seekers’ for up to six months while their asylum applications were processed.

The Home Office said that the centre would provide safe and secure accommodation and would be designed to be self-sufficient to reduce the need for the inhabitants to leave the site and therefore minimise any impact on the local community.

It is planned to have full-board accommodation, on-site recreation, exercise facilities, a shop, medical facilities, and places for faith and worship.

The Home Office added that there would be a ‘phased approach’ to developing Linton-on-Ouse, to gradually phase the number of asylum seekers into the centre.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The new asylum reception centre at Linton-on-Ouse will help end our reliance on hotels which are costing the taxpayer almost £5 million a day.

“The Home Office is listening carefully to feedback and is committed to widening engagement with key local stakeholders to ensure we minimise impact on the community and services.

“Our New Plan for Immigration will fix the UK’s broken asylum system, allowing us to support those in genuine need while preventing abuse of the system and deterring illegal entry to the UK.”

The Home Office say communications with the local community will continue.