Linton on Ouse ayslum seeker centre: RAF veteran shares his despair after losing over £20,000 on his house sale
Steve Southern accepted an offer on the home he shared with his late wife Hazel in Linton-on-Ouse shortly before the Home Office’s plans for the new asylum seeker centre – which could hold up to 1,500 lone men – were announced.
But when the news broke, his prospective buyer got in touch with him to say she was no longer willing to pay what she’d originally offered.
Faced with the prospect of putting his house back on the market, Mr Southern said he felt “he had little choice but to accept” a reduced offer of some £20,000.
Linton on Ouse: “No final decision” taken on whether to open new asylum seeker c…
He has now accused Home Secretary Priti Patel of breaking the Armed Forces’ Covenant, the promise made by Government to treat veterans and their families with respect and fairness.
The Home Office have previously indicated to villagers that there will be no compensation scheme offered for residents whose houses may drop in value owing to the new asylum centre.
Mr Southern, 62, said: “You just feel very helpless. I was never in any doubt – when the announcement was made, it was clear to me it would go ahead, despite all the local opposition.
“It’s a big loss of money. For anyone, it’s quite a lot. I know realistically there’s no way I’ll ever be able to recover that money.”
He approached his estate agents for any tips on how to handle the loss, but was told they were unable to help.
“They just feel powerless,” Mr Southern said. “They said it’s such an unusual situation and they couldn’t really offer any suggestions.”
Mr Southern has written to Priti Patel twice to alert her of his situation but is yet to receive a reply.
He wrote: “Notwithstanding that any reasonable person would directly attribute my loss of £20,000 to your announcement of the proposed asylum centre, I doubt there is any mechanism by which I can recover a single penny.
“Putting it mildly this seems terribly unjust and unfair.
“I served for six years in Germany at the height of the Cold War, did unaccompanied tours of duty in the Falkland Islands and at RAF Greenham Common, and for several years worked with GCHQ and equivalent agencies overseas on some of the most secret and sensitive signals intelligence.
“As a veteran, where is the fairness and respect promised to me by the covenant?”
In a document circulated among villagers by the Home Office to answer their frequently asked questions about the new centre, an official wrote: “There are no plans to create a compensation scheme in relation to the asylum accommodation centre at Linton-on-Ouse.”
The centre is set to open to asylum seekers in the coming weeks subject to final approval.
It comes as former accommodation in Linton-on-Ouse has left estate agents inundated with interest, according to the property developer.
Six three bedroom properties have gone up for sale for around £245,000. Karen Watson, Branch Manager at William H Brown, said: “Our office has been inundated with enquiries since the boards went up in May.
“Linton-on-Ouse is an extremely desirable location, thanks to its rural setting, and the properties themselves tick the right boxes for pretty much every buyer.”
The properties have been developed and refurbished by Annnington.