A disused army barracks in Kent is set to be turned into the UK’s first migrant holding camp as more people make the journey across the Channel, including a father who was today pictured carrying his baby beneath the White Cliffs of Dover.
Around 400 people including families, believed to have crossed the Channel in small boats, are to be housed in temporary accommodation at Napier Barracks in Folkestone, Kent, from next week.
Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins says he ‘cannot support’ the decision and called on the Home Office to find ‘more suitable’ accommodation.
Wearing a face-mask, puffer jacket and Adidas tracksuit, a migrant father was this morning photographed walking with his wife and two children along the coastal path at Kingsdown Beach in Deal
A barracks in Pembrokeshire, Wales, is also being considered for use by the Home Office.
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.
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.’
In a statement, Folkestone and Hythe District Council cited a ‘lack of consultation on this matter and the exceptionally poor communication with us’.
They added: ‘We are quite sure that members of the community will have many questions, and we are seeking clarification as a matter of urgency.’
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.’
The news comes as a migrant was today pictured cradling his baby while leading his family up the White Cliffs of Dover – before a fuming local demanded they ‘p*** off home’.
They are among dozens of migrants who arrived on Kent’s beaches in dinghies today amid a surge in boat crossings this summer.
Cradling his baby tightly, this is the moment a father leads his migrant family up the White Cliffs of Dover after making the perilous Channel crossing
Wearing a face-mask, puffer jacket and Adidas tracksuit, the male was this morning photographed walking with a woman and two children along the coastal path at Kingsdown Beach in Deal.
The family, along with others in their landing party, was quickly intercepted by police upon reaching a nearby country lane, where they were also confronted by an outburst from an angry woman.
Gesturing with her finger, Sue Cook shouted at the group of migrants to ‘p*** off home’, before being told to mind her language by an officer.
But the visibly frustrated woman hit back: ‘No, No, I don’t care… every time I come here this happens,’ pointing to the police car blocking her route to work.
Local Sue Cook told shouted at the group of migrants to ‘p*** off home’, before being told to mind her language by an officer
The family, along with others in their landing party, was quickly intercepted by police upon reaching a nearby country lane
Coastal communities in the South East are growing increasingly exasperated at the amount of boats coming from France in the past few months.
Border Force detained 168 migrants in 12 separate incidents yesterday, pushing the total number of people intercepted this year to 6,338.
The Home Office is yet to release today’s figures, but it is understood to be lower than the amount of people detained yesterday.
The young family were accompanied on Kingsdown Beach by fellow travellers. One man in a striped top was pictured giving the camera a thumbs up as he strolls under the famous chalk cliffs.
Dover’s Tory MP Natalie Elphicke said on Friday: ‘I fully appreciate the strength of feeling about the continued small boats crossings.
‘With around 6,000 illegal entrants this year alone, it is entirely unacceptable. I am working hard on this, and the Government has outlined a number of steps that it is taking to tackle this issue.’
Ministers are grappling with a record number of boat crossings this summer, with Priti Patel vowing to crack down on the journeys.
But she is locked in a war of words with her French counterparts who are demanding millions from the British government to pay for their patrol vessels.
A woman carrying a young girl on her back is intercepted by police this morning in Deal, Kent
Coastal communities are growing increasingly exasperated at the amount of boats coming from France in the past few months
One man in a striped top was pictured giving the camera a thumbs up as he strolls under the famous chalk cliffs
A young woman carrying a small girl walks along a country lane by the beach before being intercepted by police
French authorities are intercepting some of the boats, and yesterday prevented seven dinghies carrying 54 people from crossing.
Yet many are still slipping through their line, including one dinghy yesterday carrying around 12 men which washed up on Kingsdown Beach.
A bemused angler could be seen watching the incident from the shore as the masked group of men beached the boat and ran off.
So far in September, 1,313 migrants have arrived. That includes a single-day record of 416 on 28 boats on September 2.
Under plans being drawn up by the Home Office, migrants who have crossed the Channel in small boats are to be housed in military barracks while their asylum claims are processed.
Dan O’Mahoney, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, said today (TUES): ‘These crossings are facilitated by callous criminals who risk people’s lives for money.
‘We are working with our French counterparts to make this route completely unviable and continue to crack down on the criminal gangs responsible – making 50 arrests so far this year.
‘These migrants are leaving France which is a safe country, where those seeking refuge can and should claim asylum, rather than attempting these perilous crossings to the UK.
‘We continue to return those who do not have a legitimate asylum claim despite barriers to removals under the Dublin Regulations and legal challenges, and more flights are planned in the upcoming weeks.’
A group of people, thought to be migrants, wander along the coastline by the White Cliffs of dover after landing on the beach this morning
The young family walk the path below the White Cliffs of Dover today, along with other migrants who made Channel crossings