RESIDENTS despairing over plans to base up to 1,500 asylum seekers on their doorstep fear they could start arriving by the end of the month.

Protesters have sent 150 letters to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Home Secretary Priti Patel and local MP Kevin Hollinrake calling for the plan to be abandoned, while more than 3,500 people have signed a petition.

Hambleton District Council is launching a legal challenge because officers believe the Government has every intention of pressing ahead with the scheme to turn the former RAF base at Linton on Ouse, near Easingwold, which closed in 2020, into an asylum centre.

The Home Office has issued a statement saying it is part of moves to fix the asylum system, which is costing UK taxpayers £1.5bn pounds a year.

A spokesperson said: “The asylum reception centre at Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire, will help end our reliance on expensive hotels which are costing the taxpayer £4.7m a day, and we are engaging with local stakeholders about the use of the site.

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

Shocked residents who formed the Linton on Ouse Action Group to fight the scheme say it’s not nimbyism. They believethe site is totally unsuitable from the both residents' and asylum seekers' points of view.

A spokesperson said: “This decision has to be reversed as the site is simply not viable and not safe for both the aslyum seekers and the local community. This simply cannot happen.

“Such centres have been heavily criticised in the past, with courts ruling the sites at Napier Barracks in Kent and and Pennally Barracks in Wales are not fit for purpose, resulting in arson, violence, poor mental health amongst refugees, suicide attempts, Covid outbreaks and anti social behaviour.

“Furthermore, these sites saw protests by right wing parties resulting in a number of arrests and additional policing. Despite this, a new site has been sanctioned to open in Linton on Ouse and on a much larger scale.”

Members said they had already had right wing groups approaching villagers. “There has been zero consultation with residents, local councils or the police. Even representatives from the Home Office didn’t seem to know anything about the site, not realising there is no enclosing fence.

“The sewage system just cannot cope. There is even talk about bringing in containers to house the asylum seekers. It really is a nightmare yet they seem to be expecting the first ones to be here by the end of this month."