Residents near migrant facility urge councils across UK to ‘take their share’

Villagers who live near a migrant processing facility say more areas of the UK need to take “their share” of people arriving into the country.

The facility in Manston, in Kent, opened in January 2022 and is the converted former Ministry of Defence (MoD) Fire Training and Development Centre.

A short drive from the facility is the village of Manston, and local residents there were unified on the topic of small boats crossing the Channel, saying something needed to be done about the situation but were unsure what.

A view of the Manston immigration short-term holding facility
A view of the Manston migrant processing facility (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The people the PA news agency spoke to all asked to remain anonymous.

One local who lives just off the main road through the village said: “We’re a small island, we’re full to the brim, if they’re coming here to work they should go through the legal process.

“Where do they get the thousands of pounds they pay to people who take them across the Channel?”

North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale said on Monday there were 4,000 people at the Manston processing site and that the situation was a “breach of humane conditions”.

In response to these figures, the resident said: “I’m not sure I believe the numbers, if that was the case I think there would be more disruption on the roads.

A bus carrying a group of people thought to be migrants arrives at the Manston processing centre
A bus carrying a group of people thought to be migrants arriving at the Manston centre (Gareth Fuller/PA)

“They’re allowed to go out if they want so if there were that many people in there, they’re not out walking the streets.”

Another village resident said: “Where do they go from here? If none of the other councils in Great Britain agree to allocate some of them, maybe the Government should make every council within the UK take their share – they can’t put them all in Kent.”

A third local said: “If it’s overcrowded, I’m sure it wouldn’t be if the authority had their way.

“They have got to find buildings for these people and until they stop the influx it’s not going to change, all the other options will take far too long.

“I’m not too sure about the Rwanda policy – I can see the logic behind it as a holding area but it seems an awful long way to send them, especially if they’re not from that part of Africa.”