CONFIRMATION that the first asylum seekers will be arriving at Penally Training Camp from Monday has been given by the Home Office.

Following almost a week of speculation, it has been confirmed that the camp – for up to 250 men – will be up and running from Monday, September 21.

MP Simon Hart, who said earlier this week that the use of the facility for asylum seekers was ‘under active consideration’, has had replies to a number of questions he posed to the Home Office.

The answers reveal

*that the site will be ‘temporary’, for up to 12 months

*no other Welsh sites have been identified

*on-site security will be provided by the Home Office but people will be able to leave the site if they wish

*on-site medical services will be provided

*any resident of the site testing positive for Covid-19 will be taken to an isolation unit in London

A statement from the Home Office to Penally Community Council said: “It is the intention of the Home Office to have the camp up and running from Monday, September 21. The residents of the camp will be demographically single male adults, up to 250 persons staying in the dormitories.

“The Camp will not be a detention facility with residents of the camp being able to leave and return to the camp as and when they see fit.”

Mr Hart has now written to householders in Penally, providing a question and answer sheet on the situation.

He said in his letter: “Since this issue became public, the Home Office has created what they call the ‘Asylum Accommodation Strategic Group for Wales’, which includes the local council, health board, police, Public Health Wales, Welsh Government, Wales Office and others.

“It is worthy remembering that the Home Office has extensive legal powers in this policy area.

“Whether we agree with the legal position or not, we remain bound by EU law on this matter until the end of the transition period in December.

“It is therefore important that the organisations listed above are able to devote their full effort to minimising the local impact, while exercising the compassion and tolerance for which the UK and Wales has built an international reputation.

“If we compromise this, rather than addressing the fears some have expressed, we will increase the prospect of tensions and restrict the ability of the authorities to address them.

"As ever during Covid, the position changes all the time, so I will remain in daily contact with residents and stakeholders as well as the Home Office to make sure that the local interests are protected in what is a very difficult time for everybody.”