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Disused army barracks to become UK’s first migrant holding camp

UK's first 'migrant camp' to open at army barracks as Channel crossings surge
An army barracks in Folkestone is set to house around 400 people (Picture: PA)

Britain is to open its first ‘migrant camp’ for people who have crossed the Channel in small boats from next week.  

The Home Office has been accused of ‘exceptionally poor communication’ over the plans, which will see migrants housed in Kent military barracks while their asylum claims are processed.

Around 400 people, including families, are set to be housed in temporary accommodation at Napier Barracks in Folkestone. That will include migrants who have crossed to the UK in small boats, it is understood. 

Local MP Damian Collins says he ‘cannot support’ the plan and told the Home Office to find ‘more suitable’ accommodation.

A barracks in Pembrokeshire, Wales, is also being considered for use by the Home Office, the PA news agency reported.

It comes as more than 168 people crossed to the UK on small boats on Monday.

At least 151 migrants came on Tuesday, with some landing on a beach in Kent.

In a joint letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel, Mr Collins along with the leader of Folkestone and Hythe District Council and the chairman of Sandgate Parish Council demanded that the decision be reversed.

A view of Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent, where migrants who have crossed the Channel in small boats are to be housed in the military barracks while their asylum claims are processed.
The Napier Barracks is set to house migrants who have crossed the Channel in small boats while their asylum claims are processed (Picture: PA)
A group of people thought to be migrants on the coastline by the White Cliffs of Dover, Kent, after crossing the English Channel.
A group of people thought to be migrants on the coastline by the White Cliffs of Dover, Kent (Picture: PA)

They said: ‘We have great concerns about the impact this large open camp will have on the welfare of the local residential community and also those people in the asylum system who will be placed at the barracks itself.’

Folkestone and Hythe District Council also hit out at a ‘lack of consultation on this matter and the exceptionally poor communication with us’.

In a statement, it added: ‘We are quite sure that members of the community will have many questions, and we are seeking clarification as a matter of urgency.’

Both possible sites are understood to be part of the MoD training estate, but no military personnel would be on site if and when they are used by the Home Office and any training will be relocated or rescheduled.

A migrant helped by police and health workers was treated and given immediate medical care after becoming very ill during the channel crossing.
A man is given immediate medical care after becoming very ill during the channel crossing (Picture: SWNS)
A view of Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent, where migrants who have crossed the Channel in small boats are to be housed in the military barracks while their asylum claims are processed.
The local MP has criticised the plan to use the barracks (Picture: PA)

A UK Government spokesman said: ‘During these unprecedented times, the Government is working with a range of partners and across departments to secure further accommodation and the MoD has offered use of some of its sites.

‘When using contingency accommodation we work closely with organisations, including local authorities and law enforcement, throughout the process to ensure value for money and that vulnerable asylum seekers, who would otherwise be destitute, have suitable accommodation while their claims are processed.’

Meanwhile, immigration minister Chris Philp announced that 14 people who had crossed the Channel to Britain had been deported on Tuesday.

He said on Twitter that they had been sent to other European countries following ‘last minute vexatious legal claims’.

Border Force have again been busy in the English Channel on Tuesday as more migrants have attempted to arrive in the UK.

Among those brought into Dover were some children too young to walk.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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