A village near York which successfully fought government plans for a major asylum seeker processing plant could soon be home to refugees from Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defence has identified empty properties in Linton-on-Ouse, which could instead be used as part of the government’s Afghan resettlement scheme.

Last year, after much opposition from villagers, the government dropped plans for the disused RAF base to house up to 1500 male migrants while their asylum claims were being processed.

Now, much smaller proposals are being considered, involving some 16 homes and as all parties stress, an entirely different category of people.


Nationally, central government has identified 700 unused service personnel homes that could be used for housing Afghans long term as part of its resettlement programme.

This includes 75 homes in North Yorkshire, 16 of which are in Linton-on-Ouse.

Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake, who fought against the earlier asylum camp plans, says he and North Yorkshire Council were notified about the proposals before Christmas and the Home Office is still talking to the council about the suitability of sites.

The MP confirmed 16 homes were being considered in Linton-on-Ouse and no expansion beyond that was anticipated.

York Press: Protests greet much larger asylum camp proposals last year

Mr Hollinrake added: “North Yorkshire Council has reservations about lack of amenities and we are waiting to hear from the Home Office about the council’s concerns. It is fair to say people are much more relaxed. These are families, people that helped in our war effort, people very much deserving of our support.”

Dr Olga Matthias, spokesperson for the Linton-on-Ouse Auction Group, which campaigned against the original asylum camp proposal, said the new scheme came before the parish council in December.

“It’s a completely different situation. These are family homes that are going to be filled by families. It is proportionate. It won’t overwhelm the village.”

Dr Matthias questioned why there would be any opposition to the new proposals.

“This village has a history of helping. The MOD is doing right by people who helped the country. It’s a village with lots of veterans. The general feeling is people are happy to help those who put themselves in danger to help our armed forces.”

Malcolm Taylor, North Yorkshire councillor for the area, agreed, saying North Yorkshire Council has been ‘engaging’ with central government about taking more Afghan refugees, adding to the 25 already here in the county.

He accepted the migrants themselves preferred to be in areas where there is ‘more to do’ but whilst the 16 houses are being prepared in Linton-on-Ouse, no final decision has been made.

“These are families who worked with the British military and we owe them a debt of gratitude.”

A Government spokesperson confirmed: “We are honouring our commitment to those brave Afghans that supported the UK mission in Afghanistan. So far, we have brought around 24,600 people to safety from Afghanistan, including thousands of deserving Afghans eligible for our Afghan resettlement schemes.

“To ensure ARAP-eligible families can begin a settled life in the UK as quickly as possible, the UK Government is identifying transitional and settled accommodation from across the Defence Estate, including at Linton-on-Ouse.”