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‘Rise of extremist activity’ around Penally asylum seeker camp

25 Jan 2021 2 minute read
Penally military camp. Picture from Google Maps

Katy Jenkins, local democracy reporter

There has been a “rise in extremist activity” around the Penally asylum camp according to a council report.

Pembrokeshire Council, which says it is still requesting “full cost recovery” from UK government for the camp, is in discussions with UK National Counter Extremist Networks to address its impact on the county.

A report from director of communities Dr Steven Jones says that there are 124 men on the site, and adds that all transfers to and from Penally had been halted under coronavirus alert four restrictions, unless it was for medical or safeguarding reasons.

According to the report, strategic meetings are held with the Home Office and housing management company on “roughly a monthly basis” and at a tactical level meeting are are on a weekly basis .

Members of the services overview and scrutiny committee will receive report which includes reference to a community cohesion group, set up with Welsh Government, Dyfed-Powys police, health board and Migrant Help UK.

‘Extremist activity’ 

The report says: “Discussions continue with Cardiff City Council, Swansea City Council and UK National Counter Extremist Networks in relation to comparisons, understanding and addressing the impact and rise of extremist activity upon the County,” it states.

The planning status of the site is referenced, with current permitted development rights due to expire on March 21 and a planning application for a six month extension is anticipated.

It states that residents are kept up-too-date “as far as practicable” with a community information page created on the council website, which was last revised on October 29, 2020.

Safeguarding issues have resulted in a number of vulnerable people being moved and a “collaborative approach” taken to mange the risk of covid-19 spread, the report adds.

“Significant work has been ongoing in relation to the Council’s engagement in the Penally Asylum (Holding) camp,” states Dr Jones’ report.

The committee is asked to review the information and put forward and discuss  “any measures or lessons learnt identified to have potential for longer term services changes and transformation be highlighted to Cabinet for further consideration.”

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