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Council holds meeting about Napier Barracks in Folkestone being used to house asylum seekers


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A community meeting is being organised to address residents' questions over the use of Napier Barracks in Folkestone to house asylum seekers.

The Home Office revealed last week that the army camp in Sandgate will be used as an assessment and dispersal facility for more than 400 asylum seekers.

Napier Barracks in Folkestone is being used to house asylum seekers
Napier Barracks in Folkestone is being used to house asylum seekers

People started moving into the barracks on Monday, with the temporary site being used for up to 12 months.

It comes amid a rise in the number of people crossing the English Channel in small boats, desperate to reach the safety of the UK.

Yesterday alone, 393 people made the crossing in 26 vessels.

Now, Folkestone and Hythe District Council are planning a 'virtual community engagement meeting' to address any concerns or questions that members of the public have regarding the arrangement.

The Home Office and other agencies have been invited to attend, with council leader Cllr David Monk urging key partner representatives to participate and address any issues raised.

Council leader Cllr David Monk will hold a meeting to address residents' concerns
Council leader Cllr David Monk will hold a meeting to address residents' concerns

He said: "The lack of communication from the Home Office has meant we have had no way of being able to allay the fears and answer the questions raised by residents.

"This is a perfect opportunity for all of the agencies involved to come together to describe the support they are giving and the actions they are taking to address concerns in an appropriate setting.

"It will also allow speculation around the arrangement to be addressed - some of which has been very unhelpful and potentially damaging to our community."

Questions must be submitted via email to committee@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk before 5pm tomorrow, Thursday, September 24.

Themes raised by residents will then be discussed by the panel as opposed to each question being asked individually.

Police arrived at Napier Barracks on Tuesday following reports a drone was being flown in the area. Picture from Youtube account: XxTWxX
Police arrived at Napier Barracks on Tuesday following reports a drone was being flown in the area. Picture from Youtube account: XxTWxX

Enquiries may be rejected - as is standard council practice - if they are considered to be defamatory, frivolous or offensive.

Members of the public will be able to watch the meeting live on Friday at 3pm by visiting bit.ly/YouTubeMeetings .

The council initially joined forces with Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins to write a letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel asking for the decision to use Napier Barracks be reversed.

Together, they urged the Home Office to find alternative accommodation.

The authority has since back-tracked following a meeting with Home Office representatives, and has now vowed to set up a support network for the barrrack's guests.

Mr Collins however is still asking for more clarity on how the site will run, and has sent a second letter to the Home Office demanding more answers.

Yesterday, a group of people gathered outside the gates of the barracks in what was an assumed anti-immigration protest.

The police were called after a drone was found to be flying in the area.

Read more: All the latest news from Folkestone

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