Plans to house asylum seekers at army barracks in Catterick Garrison have been scrapped, according to reports.

PM Rishi Sunak said he was “showing leadership” in March, leading by example including the barracks in his Richmond, North Yorkshire constituency in a list of sites to be repurposed as migrant accommodation.

But plans have now been scrapped with The Times newspaper reporting Mr Sunak ordered the Home Office no longer use it as a large-scale asylum facility.

The plans were announced in March but no further details were confirmed by the Home Office.

They came a time of legal threats from local Conservatives in Essex and Lincolnshire where ministers revealed plans to house asylum seekers in unused military bases in a bid to slash a hotel bill reportedly worth £2.3bn to put up refugees.

The Northern Echo: The Helles Barracks at Catterick Garrison.The Helles Barracks at Catterick Garrison. (Image: Sarah Caldecott, Newsquest)

A government spokesperson told The Times: “The Home Office has assessed the site at Catterick Garrison for asylum accommodation; in light of that, we do not assess the site to be suitable for a large asylum facility at this time, but continue to review alternative uses for the location.

“We have always been upfront about the unprecedented pressure being put on our asylum system, brought about by a significant increase in dangerous and illegal journeys into the country.”

Councillor Stuart Parsons, opposition independent leader on North Yorkshire County Council, previously said the government had “completely lost the plot” over the plans.

Speaking of the U-turn he said: “Had it been used for refugees I know they would have been given a warm welcome.

“There was a huge amount of concern and anxiety around the garrison communities and that didn’t need to be the created.

The Northern Echo: Rishi Sunak.Rishi Sunak. (Image: CHRIS BOOTH)

“Surely Mr Sunak could have organised things so the accommodation was suitable if he really wanted to lead by example. He was just making an empty gesture again.

“You would expect somebody to have had an idea about whether it was or wasn’t suitable long before he spoke. To throw it in there to say ‘I’m doing my bit’ was pointless really because he’s not done anything before announcing it.”

The newspaper also reports the Home Office is reviewing using the barracks as a potential detention site for migrants pending removal from the UK.

Labour Shadow Immigration Minister Stephen Kinnock added: “Rishi Sunak has overseen an explosion of emergency asylum accommodation on his watch, with the cost toalling an extraordinary £8m per day for almost 400 hotels alone. Yet when accommodation is proposed in his leafy constituency he tries every trick in the book to delay the process indefinitely.

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“Why sign off on RAF Scampton, but not Catterick barracks?

“This goes right to the heart of the Prime Minister’s character.

The government spokesperson added: “We continue to work across government and with local authorities to identify a range of accommodation options to reduce the use of unacceptable hotels which cost £8m a day.