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Home Office to operate Penally asylum seeker camp without planning permission

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL has said that it is ‘disappointed’ after learning of a Home Office plan which will see it running the former Penally Training Camp for asylum seekers without planning permission. The news follows confirmation last month from the Home Office that the camp was being wound down, with asylum seekers being moved into alternative accommodation, such as hotels.

A council spokespersons said: “We acknowledge this latest update is unsettling and we will continue to work to ensure community cohesion can be restored following this disruptive decision.”

But the Home Office has confirmed that it is preparing a planning application to allow the temporary use of the camp, which has housed up to 250 male facility users, to continue for a further six months.

The current six months permission for use – granted under the Town and Country Planning General Permitted Development Order – expires on March 21, but application for the next consent is not due to be submitted until mid April.

As the site would be in use without the planning consent, the council would have the power to take enforcement action, but the Authority has not yet confirmed its intentions.

A spokesman for the council, said: “The Home Office has recently re-confirmed to the Council that they are preparing a planning application to allow the temporary use of Penally Training Camp to continue for a further 6 months (beyond 21st March 2021).

“However, the Home Office have now made it clear that any planning application will not be submitted to Pembrokeshire County Council until around mid-April 2021.

Police and protestors in stand off in Penally in 2020 (Pic: Herald)

“The Home Office advise that their appointed consultant are working to complete the majority of the technical reports, including a Phase 1 Ecological Survey, Noise Assessment, Heritage Report, Transport Report and Flood Risk Assessment.

“The Home Office have advised that they will begin the required pre application consultation, a formal 28-day period for public consultation process, in mid-March.  Following the consultation period, the responses will be collated and the Pre-Application Consultation (PAC) Report prepared.

“This means that the site will therefore be under occupation, but without the requisite planning consents being in place, whilst the application process is followed.

“The Council have been in continual contact with the Home Office and their planning consultant over the last 5 months, seeking clarification around their planning intention. This recent correspondence confirms their intention to progress a planning application.

“We are disappointed that the Home Office have only now made their intent clear. It is of concern that they have not been able to submit a planning application within the required timescale.

The cost of policing the camp has been higher than expected, running into millions of pounds (Pic Herald)

“The Council has always challenged the Home Office as to the suitability of the accommodation. We have also always tried to work with key bodies involved to ensure those in the camp and the surrounding community are kept safe, treated with dignity. We acknowledge this latest update is unsettling and we will continue to work to ensure community cohesion can be restored following this disruptive decision.”

PRESTON PUSHES HART FOR ANSWERS

County councillor for Penally, Jonathan Preston, is pressing a local MP for answers to many still unanswered questions for surrounding Penally Training Camp; stating that it appears that the Home Secretary is unaware of how the Home Office took control of Penally camp last September.

In a charged letter, Cllr Preston is pushing for Simon Hart MP, Secretary of State for Wales, to clarify points following The Home Secretary’s promise to engage.

The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said in Parliament: “We will consult with everybody; I can give that assurance.”

Mrs Patel added: “In the broadest possible sense, we cannot have this situation where local authorities literally refuse to engage with us, while at the same time saying that consultation is not taking place.”

Writing to Mr Hart MP, Cllr Preston said: “I am confident that PCC have not refused to engage on this issue with the Home Office, however given that you, along with Welsh Government and Pembrokeshire County Council were not consulted prior to Penally camp being repurposed, it appears that the Home Secretary is unaware of how the Home Office took control of Penally camp last September.

He added: “Please could you advise why the Home Secretary believes that consultation has taken place and if this assumption provided the basis on which the Home Office proceeded to repurpose Penally camp last September?”

The Pembrokeshire Herald has approached the Home Office for comment.

Home Secretary Priti Patel is facing calls to close former barracks in Penally and Folkestone

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A40 closed at Scleddau due to collision between car and motorbike

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EMERGENCY SERVICES have shut the A40 at in Scleddau due to a serious road collision.

The accident happened just before 2pm. The Herald understands that the collision involved a motorcycle and car at a junction near The Gate Inn public house.

Police said: “Emergency services are currently on scene and dealing with the incident. Please find an alternative route if possible. Update to follow.”

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Moley’s Ambassador March to support those who have lost a child

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ON SATURDAY (Jun 19), Andrew Cole (aka Moley) will set off on a 24 hour walk around Pembrokeshire with the aim of doing as many miles in as little time as possible. 

Moley is proud to have recently been made ambassador of the charity ‘2 Wish UponAa Star’ an organisation dedicated to supporting families that have lost a child under 25 years of age.

He will be setting off at 6am in the morning from Neyland and walking all day and night, finishing at 6am the following morning.

2 wish upon a star was set up by Rhian Mannings, who set up the charity after losing her own son.

By celebrating the lives of those lost, and offering support to families through their grief; Rhian and her team offer an essential service to the community and those families who have suffered the devastation of losing a loved one.

Appealing for support from the people of Pembrokeshire he said: “Please give generously to support the wonderful work of Rhian and her team. Also, if you happen to see me in the day, feel free to give me a beep of encouragement’

“If you would like to donate to Moley, and support the charity, you can visit his JustGiving page.”

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/moleycole

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Lifeboats and chopper in major air sea rescue off the coast of Tenby

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TWO RNLI lifeboats from both Tenby and Angle stations have been launched to assist a coastguard helicopter which has been scrambled from MOD St Athen.

It is understood that a search for a missing person or persons is underway.

Paged this morning: Angle Lifeboat is currently involved in the search south of Tenby

The alarm was raised before 10am this morning (June 18).

Tenby’s Y-boat is also involved in the operation, The Herald understands.

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Rescue underway: Coastguard chopper position at 1030HRS on Friday, Jun 18 (Pic MarineTraffic)
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