The MoD's Penally Training Camp has closed after more than 160 years

Penally Training Camp <i>(Image: Gareth Davies Photography)</i>
Penally Training Camp (Image: Gareth Davies Photography)

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that it has closed Penally Camp.

The camp, which has been in existence since 1860 as a military training facility, was prominent in the headlines between October 2020 and March 2021 when it became the controversial base for asylum seekers.

Amid protests from inside and outside its gates, the camp housed up to 250 asylum seekers at the height of its occupancy.

It came under fire from its residents and independent inspectors for its poor living conditions.

After the last of the asylum seekers departed, it was handed back to the MoD by the Home Office, who had previously repurposed it.

A spokesperson from the MoD told the Western Telegraph today, Friday December 2: “We have agreed Penally Camp is no longer required for military training purposes and the camp has been closed.

“The site will now be considered for wider defence purposes, use by other government departments and, if it is deemed surplus to requirements, will be offered for disposal.”

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The camp was opened in 1860 to provide musketry training after the Crimean War and was extensively used by British and Allied troops in both the First and Second World Wars.

As a Defence Training Establishment, it had been used by regular, reserve and cadet forces and also provided accommodation for units using the Air Defence Range at nearby Manorbier.

Penally Community Council had been seeking confirmation from the MoD about its plans to close the camp.

Its chair, Cllr Sarah Snow, said: “We appreciate the firing range and camp may no longer be suitable for use by the MoD, however local people will be rightly concerned about the future of this land.

“We will therefore continue to work closely with Phil Kidney, our county councillor, to ensure that local people are kept informed and would welcome further communication from the MoD for the same reason."