Published: 12:11, 08 April 2021
| Updated: 20:00, 09 April 2021
More asylum seekers are due to arrive at army barracks in Kent, it can be revealed.
Napier Barracks in Folkestone was transformed into temporary accommodation by the Home Office last September as a way of coping with the large number of people entering the UK to seek asylum.
Now, the Home Office says it will be "moving more asylum seekers into Napier barracks in due course".
This is despite calls from action groups, MPs and the asylum seekers themselves, that the site should close.
Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield (Lab) has criticised the move.
She Tweeted: "Really disappointing that despite joint letters and calls by myself, @DoverBishop @_KRAN_ @HollyLynch, Folkestone MP Damian Collins and others, the Home Office still seem determined to use this totally unsuitable and now privately-managed site."
Damian Collins, MP for Folkestone district, is also calling for the site to shut.
He said: "I am against the use of Napier Barracks as asylum accommodation.
"This is a temporary facility and I would rather see a managed closure of the site now, something that I have made clear both in parliament and to Home Office ministers."
A spokesman for the Home Office said: "We secured permission to use Napier barracks for 12 months and while pressure on the asylum system remains will continue to make use of the site."
Napier Barracks has been plagued with problems ever since it was set up accommodation for asylum seekers.
A fire in January saw a building badly damaged and has left one man awaiting trial.
Inspections carried out by both the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration and NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group found the site unsuitable.
One report described the environment at Napier as "impoverished" and "run-down".
Around 200 people are also reported to have tested positive for Covid-19.
A new petition on 38 Degrees calling for Napier Barracks to close has now gained more than 70,000 signatures.
The online petition reads: "Right now, hundreds of asylum seekers are trapped in appalling and unsafe conditions by our government.
"Overcrowded former army barracks are being used to house people while they endure endless waits for their claims to be processed.
"These inhumane circumstances have led to a massive increase in Covid infections, and even suicide attempts by residents.
"Human rights organisations like Choose Love have been raising the alarm, and 200 asylum seekers have penned an open letter to the government, detailing the horrific and unsafe conditions.
Kent Refugee Action Network express their concern ahead of arrivals at Napier Barracks
"The government has ignored mounting evidence that the Napier Barracks are unsuitable for accomodation. This is unacceptable. The site must be shut down."
Campaigners and MPs have blasted the Home Office for moving asylum seekers back to the barracks
To read KentOnline's report on everything that has happened at Napier Barracks so far, click here.