Asylum seekers who will be housed on a migrant barge in a south coast harbour will be ‘free to come and go as they want’, the Home Office has confirmed.
A free bus service will be laid on daily to transport around 500 migrants from the Bibby Stockholm in and out of Portland Port in Dorset.
Once they have left the port they will be free to roam around Weymouth, Portland and beyond. They will also have access to local services, including a GP.
The plan to moor the barge in Portland Port has been met with strong opposition from local residents, the MP for Dorset South, Dorset Council and NHS Dorset.
Chief among the concerns is the sudden impact the introduction of 500 people will have on the local community.
Locals fear that already over-stretched local services, including GP surgeries, won’t be able to cope with the influx.
Many have voiced worries about an increase in crime and anti-social behaviour, risk to their personal safety and the impact on tourism.
Tensions were high at a public meeting where Home Office officials sought to allay locals’ fears.
Read more: Asylum seekers who will be housed on migrant barge off the coast of Dorset will be ‘free to come and go as they want’ and will be provided with free bus service into town, Home Office confirms