This is Linton on Ouse. It’s a beautiful, even idyllic little village just North of York on the site of the once magnificent Galtres forest – a royal hunting forest established by the Normans that once covered over 100,000 acres and contained as many as 60 villages, the main settlement being Easingwold a few miles North East of here.
The modern village is part of the Parish of Newton-on-Ouse. It’s enclosed by the River Ouse to the West and on the Eastern side, the River Kyle. There’s a feeling of tradition here, of hushed reverence for the past with all its pomp and sterile conservatism. And it’s that attitude of tradition, of adherence to someone else’s rules that makes the current drama unfolding here in the Vale of York so ironic.
Among the mansions, the cottages, the barges and the blossom… right in the centre of Linton lies a RAF base. Or at least it used to. The base has been empty since 2020 when the MoD decommissioned it. Now it stands quiet and barren, complete with runways, offices and, crucially… around 150 on site houses.
What do you do with 150 houses on a disused air base? Well, if your name’s Priti Patel you commandeer them to house immigrants. 500 to start with, beginning sometime in June but potentially rising to 1,500 middle Eastern immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers. Here, in the heart of this quaint Yorkshire village with its population of less than 1,000 souls, miles from anywhere with a public transport service that absolutely no-one in their right mind would describe as adequate.
Personally I don’t care if the NIMBYs get a taste of the reality of life, of mixing with and having to get along with people who aren’t just as privileged as they are.
I really couldn’t care less if people too myopic to see that people are simply people end up staying indoors rather than meet folks who might broaden their horizons. Society might just be better off for their absence anyway.
I am concerned that newly arrived immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers deserve more than to be dumped out of sight where they can be prevented from acclimatizing themselves to their new surroundings and from where they will find it difficult to access advice and assistance related to their particular needs as newcomers to a strange country.
I’m also more than a little perturbed that so many of their first English neighbours will be this contemptuous of these desperate and often traumatized individuals.