Locals fear refugee barges will affect tourism and income: Dorset campaigner


Dorchester’s mother Julie Crowley, who is leading a campaign against barge accommodation for asylum seekers, said residents’ concerns were not “far right”.

Leading campaigners against government plans to moor barges to accommodate 500 refugees from a small British island say the area has been “disappointed” by the government.

Julie Crowley said the concerns of residents of the coastal areas of Portland and Weymouth have been “totally ignored” by authorities.

A 58-year-old man from nearby Dorchester is behind a recent leaflet campaign urging locals to “convince the country that Dorset does not tolerate government decrees.”

The leaflet, entitled ‘Stop the Invasion’, also stated that local MP Richard Drax, the Dorset Council and the local population were ‘not consulted prior to this decision’.

Crowley told the Epoch Times on Tuesday that the Bivy Stockholm barge arrived in British waters.

222 bedrooms, three deck ship A stop at Falmouth, Cornwall, where it will be inspected and re-equipped.

In the next few weeks, she will move to her final position in the port of Portland, off the coastal town of Weymouth in Dorset.

On Tuesday, it was reported that the port appeared to deter expected “far-right” demonstrations protesting the presence of barges from targeting the arrival of tourists coming to the area on cruise ships.

of Times of London South Dorset Port said it normally advertises arrival and departure dates on its website for the more than 40 cruises scheduled to dock at the port throughout the year.

But the port’s website removed the date following criticism of the company’s plans to anchor the Bibby Stockholm in its waters, according to the paper.

The port said it expects about 130,000 tourists to arrive at the port in the coming months.

tourist phobia

In an interview with the Epoch Times, Crowley said he didn’t know far-right protests were scheduled for the Portland harbor.

“I have been asked by some residents to arrange a protest and many have said they will show up. [But] I do not intend to arrange a protest.I believe the majority must protest.

Campaigners said the concerns of residents in the area were by no means “far right” and focused primarily on the possible impact of the barge’s presence on tourism and income.

“We are on the Jurassic Coast [World Heritage Site]Weymouth and Portland are inundated with tourists, with hundreds of thousands of people coming here each year,” Crowley said.

“Many of us feel that national publicity around barges will have a huge impact on tourism, so income will be affected.”

A 58-year-old man said there are also concerns over screening of immigrants, who will be held in Bivy Stockholm for up to 18 months.

“This is not about race, creed or color,” she said.

“Nobody in the area has been consulted and the council says they didn’t know.

“Maybe 2% of people disagree. We feel unheard and disappointed.”

Great Britain against racism activist group with chapter based in Dorset, said it plans to hold a solidarity march and protest at the port this week.

The group’s social media posts said it welcomes refugees but opposes prison barges that “profit” from asylum seekers, with demonstrations taking place on Saturday, May 13. It is said that

Epoch Times photo
The Bibby Stockholm accommodation barge arrives in Falmouth, Cornwall for inspection on 9 May 2023. (PA Media)

recorded fingerprint

and Statement issued last weekPortland Port Chief Executive Bill Reeves moved to ease local unrest.

He acknowledged “genuine concerns” and said asylum seekers would have their fingerprints and identities recorded by the Home Office before entering the country.

Migrants will also be screened for medical conditions, Reeves said.

A Multi-Agency Forum (MAF) involving government agencies, police and emergency services was also established in the region.

Reeves said the Home Office was working closely with Dorset Police to “ensure an adequate security regime”.

The statement said discussions were underway with the NHS about “the potential extent of medical facilities on the ground” to reduce the impact on local health services.

Communal recreation and exercise facilities have been made available to asylum seekers, and the Home Office is consulting with local volunteers and the community sector on the provision of activities, including English language training.

Reeves, who said he didn’t think tourism would be affected, added that detaining migrants was “the right thing to do.”

“Refugees are in the late stages of asylum assessment, so they have a strong incentive to comply with the law,” he said.

“They have no greater ambition than to be accepted in Britain, sometimes after escaping horrific situations.”


Last month, MP Richard Drax He criticized the Home Office for its plan to barge asylum seekers to Dorset.

He said he had not consulted the council, community and local authorities before the ship’s accommodation was “imposed on us.”

He said Interior Secretary Suera Braverman clarified in a written response to Drax that “immigrants living in self-contained sites … will be able to come and go as they please.”

“If asylum seekers do not return to the scene by 11pm, the team will call to confirm their welfare.

“This is not under curfew conditions. It will be based on tracking personal safety and well-being,” Braverman said.

Drax said the reason residents are against it is “simply that we don’t have the resources to deal with it.”

Addressing Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick, Drax said: .

“Minister, where are they going? What are they planning to do?

“I don’t think it’s going to work. It’s just unrealistic and the medical service can’t provide the resources.”

Drax added:

Epoch Times photo
Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Immigration, speaks on ‘Sovereign borders in an era of mass migration’ at the Policy Exchange in central London, UK, 25 April 2023. (Jordan Pettitt/PA Media)

Excess policing call

A Portland Port spokesperson said in a statement to The Epoch Times about the decision to remove cruise ship arrival times from its website: any port.

“Therefore, we recommend that you contact the cruise company concerned for the most up-to-date information.”

The barges are part of a series of schemes devised by the British government aimed at keeping asylum seekers away from expensive hotel accommodation.

According to the UK Home Office, asylum seekers can spend £6 million per day in hotels.

However, Dorset Council leaders and the County Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) have expressed concerns about the port’s decision to allow the barges to dock.

PCC David Sidwick last week sought financing talks with Braverman for the extra security needed when the ship arrived.

The announcement was made after a small boat carrying migrants crossing the English Channel arrived in Dover, Kent, on Monday’s bank holiday.

A group of people were filmed at the dock after being rescued by a Border Patrol ship.

The interior ministry has not yet announced how many people arrived on Monday, but 135 people arrived on Saturday in three boats that were detected, and three more boats carried 134 people across the channel on Sunday. I came.

At least 6,500 migrants arrived via unauthorized routes this year.

PA Media contributed to this report.