Mark Whitehead 06 April 2023

Portland mayor criticises refugee barge plan

Portland mayor criticises refugee barge plan image
Image: Mark Godden / Shutterstock.com.

Portland mayor Pete Roper has criticised the Government’s plan to house refugees on a barge off the Dorset coast because of the extra pressure the move will place on local services.

Transport minister Richard Holden says he hopes to see asylum seekers housed on the barge ‘as quickly as possible’ and denied it would have an impact on services.

However, Mayor Roper criticised the Government for not providing any additional support for the island.

He said it was like having a ‘housing estate plonked on them at a moment's notice without recognising the need for medical, security and hospitality services’.

‘As we understand it isn’t a prison and, although the port is a secure area, that these individuals will not be able to be detained within that area and that they will be allowed out to other areas.’

Mr Holden told national television: ‘I can’t give you a definite date and time on it, but this is what we’re hoping to do. We’re hoping to do it as quickly as possible.’

He added: ‘One of the things that we’re going to ensure with all of these sites is things like doctors facilities, they will have on-site so that they can be processed there and looked after on-site without the need to impact on local communities.’

Dorset County Council has opposed the plan and South Dorset MP Richard Drax is considering legal action to stop it.

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