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Council requesting “full cost recovery” from UK government for Penally asylum seeker

PEMBROKESHIRE County Council is still requesting “full cost recovery” from UK government for the asylum seeker camp at Penally according to an update on involvement being brought to scrutiny committee tomorrow (Tuesday, January 26).

A report from the director of communities Dr Steven Jones outlines the position as of January 8, with a further verbal update possible, stating that there are 124 men on the site. The last update was made in October.

It adds that all transfers too and from Penally had been halted under coronavirus alert four restrictions unless it was for medical or safeguarding reasons, and strategic meeting are held with the Home Office and housing management company on “roughly a monthly basis.”

These are on a weekly basis at a tactical level, the report adds.

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

“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 currently 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-to-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 manage 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 the potential for longer-term services changes and transformation be highlighted to Cabinet for further consideration.”

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