Former Fire Training and Development Centre at Manston being considered for asylum seeker ‘triage’ base

The former fire training centre IMage Le Deluge, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale says the Manston airport site will not be used to house people seeking asylum in the UK but the Home Office is looking at using the former Fire Training and Development Centre for ‘triage’ – which would include secure detention.

The site is being considered for ‘overspill’ from Tug Haven in Dover where people arriving to seek asylum outside of the proper process are first taken for basic supplies and health/identity checks.

BBC South East reported on the plan this evening and said it also means Air Cadets and Army Reservists based at the site have been given notice to move out.

Those affected are 3rd Battalion the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment and 2433 Ramsgate & Manston Squadron – RAF Air Cadets.

North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale

Sir Roger said: “The Home Office is examining the possibility of using the former fire school as an overspill for Tug Haven to triage some asylum seekers in a secure detention centre that would have its own self-contained facilities and medical services.

“I am in discussion with the Minister of State at the Home Office and the Secretary of State for Defence to establish further details about this proposal.”

When asked about the possible Home Office use at Manston earlier this month RiverOak Strategic Partners, which now owns the airport site, said an approach had been made to use the barracks but had been rejected with much of the accommodation condemned due to asbestos. The fire training centre is owned by the Ministry of Defence.

The Fire Training and Development Centre at Manston closed in 2020 with operations transferred to Moreton-in-Marsh.

The move followed the agreement in July 2019 of a 12 year contract, worth £525 million, to outsource Ministry of Defence fire and rescue operations to private company Capita.

The firm was selected by the MOD as the winning tender for the Defence Fire and Rescue Project in June 2018.

Tug Haven is a short-term reception centre at Dover Western Docks.

RSP and the Home Office have been contacted for further details.


  1. Air Cadets and Army Reservists based at the site have been given notice to move out….. Our citizens run roughshod over….serving citizens too. Discrase.

    • Idiot! why are you calling yourself Realist, you know nothing about why Asylum Seekers who are men women and children want to come here, risking their lives, fleeing war, famine, and distress caused by warring factions in their own countries! And just where do your think they should be returned to idiot? It would be illegal to return them to a country that is at war, or where they would be persecuted!

      Incidentally, idiot, in the Times dated 27th November there was a piece that said the reason why migrants want to come here is, because we are no longer in the EU! It goes on to say, if we were still in the EU, migrants coming here could legally be returned to the first EU country they had arrived at, but as we are no longer a member of the EU, we can’t do this anymore! So you see, its all those xenophobes who voted to leave the EU who are to blame for encouraging migrants to come here, because they know they can’t be returned to France, or any other EU country! Another fine mess Johnson has got us into!

      • Dump on.. Let’s hope you get dumped on! It would be easy to simply return them to your wonderful safe EU.. cus we not in it! The French give them nothing.. the sooner we do likewise the better. Hundreds more arrived again this week – its not sustainable

  2. have its own self-contained facilities and medical services…. While I can’t even get a Tel call only with my GP until January next year…

    • Whats a “directment” see my posting above. The best answer would be to open temporary British Consuls along the French coast, so Asylum Seekers could be processed there. Give them a cheap mobile phone, so they can be contacted within days, not months, and if they satisfy initial acceptance as an Asylum Seeker, give them a free ticket to get here! This would break the traffica’s business model!

      • Sorry my spelling is not good but i know what i meant lol.

        Like you say holding centres in France makes perfect sense to me , it would save lives and maybe put a halt the gangs that make big money out of getting them here.

  3. It has evolved over the years after we left in 1958. Toured Manston in 2007 with the base commander hosting. Much enjoyed and appreciated.

  4. If it can be turned into temporary housing with on site support services wouldn’t it be nice to have it allocated for all the street homeless in East Kent ?

    • Well, they have been dumping problem children from London here for decades. Dumping more than our share of unaccompanied migrant children here for years etc. Do you not enjoy the ‘cultural enrichment’ & ‘diversity’ then?

    • It happened to cliftonville in late90’s early 00’s. Some landlords made a fortune, but it put the area as a whole into steeper decline. A memorable statement from the head thanet policeperson at the time , after a spateof knife incidents, went along the lines of

      – locals need not worry, these incidents are comtained within communities where carrying a knife and using it to threaten are cultural norms-

      So obviously perfectly acceptable behaviour.

      • I lived in Cliftonoverspill for 5 years. When my girlfriend contacted the police about large groups of men,over 30 type large, that stood in her way and said things to her that is exactly what the police said on the many occasions it happened .oh it’s their culture to stand out on the street at night and women aren’t seen as very high in the pecking order… That was Margate police. Hard working immigrants that are genuine from a war ok and as long as they are spread out and not allowed to form a ghetto like Cliftonville. Honestly I used to walk up Harold rd onto NortHdown, do some shopping and walk back without hearing a single voice in English. Hey but they come here cus they speak English we are told…..

  5. I’d sooner ship out some of our home-grown wasters and make room for some migrants who are prepared to work and contribute to society. I really don’t care where someone comes from, what religion they are or what there ethnic background is.

    We have people living in Thanet that are 4th/5th generation unemployed. They have access to an excellent free education system and every opportunity that living in an economically developed country affords them, yet they still don’t work or attempt to contribute. So, why not ship them out and give their house to a migrant family that will work, pay tax, pay national insurance and strive to better themselves?

    Are we all past believing what The Sun tells us about migrants? If not, for clarity, they do not come over here and get given a house, a car, Sky TV, designer clothes and food vouchers for Fortnum & Mason. This doesn’t happen. Thanks.

    • And where exactly & how legally would you deport UK born people to? You are of course assuming all these migrants are genuine individuals fleeing wars largely of our leaders creation & that there will not be convicted rapists/sex offenders, murderers, terrorist sleepers etc among their number-many of whom are wanted in their own lands for said crimes-which is why they fled.

      • Cliftonville in particular is home to far too many homegrown wasters who’ll never change their ways and will have kids that’ll in all likelihood follow the same path. We give them too much and don’t even expect them to behave decently as a basic condition of doing so.
        Likewise i’ve no problem with decent hardworking migrants coming here but the last thing we need is the problems of other nations, freeloaders or troublemakers.

      • We’d ship the UK born people out illegally, of course. People seem to be advocating the illegal expulsion of migrants who, whether you agree or not, have absolute legal entitlement to be here. So, if we’re breaking the law, let’s do it properly, no?

        What do you think the first question a loved one asks someone who has been raped? I’m no expert, but I doubt it is, “was the rapist an immigrant?” I’m not convinced, being a parent, that the nationality or ethnicity of the perpetrator would make a blind bit of difference to me… I doubt that, confronted with that horrific scenario, I’d exclaim, “thank God your attacker was white indiginous British.”

        Steve, you’re prejudiced. We get it.

        • Not at all, we have enough of our own criminals here without importing more. Despite the claims most of the asylum seekers are women & children the video & photographic evidence shows that they are actually mostly young men-many of whom whether you like it or not do have convictions in their own countries for sexual crimes or murder & as we have seen from many attacks in recent years those who came here intent on committing terrorist attacks.

          Unfortunately shouting racist & Islamophobia doesn’t change that. Neither does the fact that those making the crossing from France are no longer asylum seekers-as they already have asylum there, but economic migrants & Ne’er-do-well.

  6. This sounds like a reasonable idea.
    After all, the UK takes just a small minority of the refugees that arrive in Europe. Most stop in Greece or Italy etc. Germany takes millions as they know that they have a serious projected labour shortage, almost as bad as Britain’s. Especially a shortage of educated, qualified people who tend to be the ones who have the money and resources to escape their own countries before the regime, or the terrorists, come calling.
    The small minority that battle all across the Continent, then live in misery in tents around Calais, waiting for a dangerous crossing in an open boat, have very specific , personal, reasons for wanting to get to Britain. They have family or friends here who can look after them. Or they can speak a bit of English—- German or Danish or Swedish not being well-known languages around the world.
    Or they have had a long association with British companies or military forces in their original country.
    One reason NOT to come to the UK is welfare benefits!
    Britain has some of the lowest benefit levels in Europe. And notoriously bad cheap housing. If they just wanted asylum with better benefits and accommodation, they would stay in France. Or Germany. Or Belgium.
    But this small minority have good reasons to come to Britain.
    So a facility at Manston that can register them, let them go to their relatives’ addresses, and then begin the process of assessing the asylum claim, seems to be a good idea.

  7. I think the small amount of individuals who would not like Manston Airport to reopen and provide the much needed jobs that will take east Kent from the village mentality to the real world are in for a bit of a shock.There are many ways to do to circumvent a solution, I would suggest you wake up a smell the coffee. I write with a big smile on my face.
    You shall see n due course.

    • It is the other way around Ann-the majority do not want yet another in the long line of failed airports, with failed promises of massive local employment, nor the noise or air pollution & it is a minority like yourself who do-as shown by the comments here being overwhelmingly against every time it is bought up.

      So are you actually being paid by RSP to shill so shamelessly for them, or are you genuinely disturbed with these endless promises of watch this space, this will happen, illuminating trips to London etc?

  8. Those individuals who do not want Manston Airport to be up and running again are in for a big shock.
    You will see in due course that Manston Airport will not only lift off as an airport as it should be but it will also lift East Kent out of the village mentality into the real world to the benefit of so many near and far.

    • No offence Ann, but you have been saying this all year, all last year, the year before, probably the year before that on here-with no payoff. I guess you must be trying to convince yourself it will happen-despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary that this is as dead in the water as Boris Island & The China Gateway.

      • Best thing to do with Ann, is to just laugh at what she says Steve, because it is all pie in the sky rubbish that comes from her.

        She is deluded at best or a paid liar from RSP at worst.

        • Oh, I do. She always cheers me up with her shilling, But I would just love to know if she is an eccentric or in the pay of RSP. Others here say they are in favour-but she goes to insane lengths to promote them, even more than Bill.

    • Hi Ann, so… the airport will lift Ramsgate off the village mentality, but one of the most common arguments used by Manston fans is that DFLs and those not born and bred in Thanet since the Doomsday Book days should not have an opinion on the matter.

      How do you make sense of this? Answers on a jet fuel postcard, please.

  9. Ah! christmas has come early. I love a good rant from Ann, based on no facts whatsoever. Week after week, month after month, Ann and her mad mates have spun a tale of success at Manston like a misfiring merlin.
    There is no airport, will not be an airport and soon as Shapps is bundled out of Govt, the whole embarrassing thing will quietly die a natural death.
    Why not create a warm comfortable ‘village’ where those seeking asylum can be fed, watered, given guidance on how to live in the UK and earn money, so they are contributing to society from day 1. I bet there are doctors, nurses, vaccinators, lorry drivers, warehouse staff and fruit pickers in abundance, so why don’t we do what we always do, assimilate those seeking safety and use their talents.

  10. Steve if you have been looking closely at my comments you will see everything I’ve said has indeed happened.
    What is very tiresome about your comments is you bang on about the airport will lose money you know nothing about the financial side at all not one jot about the airport yet you try to pretend you are a financial expert. You hope by saying these things the airport will not open I can assure you it will.

    • Au contraire, old sausage.
      Not one thing that you have said about Manston has actually come to pass, despite your having direct access to high powered QCs and senior Civil Servants.

    • The airport has never, ever made money. Never. Not at all. Not once.
      It did lose £100Ms. That’s a matter of record.
      Not one of more than a dozen expert opinion says that commercial aviation will work at Manston.
      What makes you think anything differently?

    • Hi Ann, your claim that the airport will be opening has certainly not come true. Perhaps you can remind us of your Mystic Mog predictions from the last several years that did happen.

      It is based on history-no airport there since WW2 has survived. I can well remember the mid 2000’s claims from those running it that their new flights were going to make it a world leader-every time the cameras went there it was empty or near empty & eventually these flights were cancelled-nobody was available for comment when that happened unsurprisingly & then went bust.

      You don’t need to be a financial expert to know you have to make more than you spend to remain running. Perhaps with your ‘inside knowledge’ you could enlighten us as to just how much RSP have spent on legal fees, consultations, paying off SHP-who also made all kinds of pie in the sky promises & plans that didn’t amount to a hill of beans etc.

      The fact remains it is in the middle of nowhere, with terrible transport links & most people will not be going there. Frankly your assurance are laughable & not worth the paper they are printed on. Once again are you a paid shill working in some capacity for RSP, or just a deluded cheerleader? You really should declare any interest rather than ducking the question. I mean an airport there is more viable than the insane planned Disney Resort in Swanscombe plan that has been dragging on for a decade now without getting anywhere, but that is faint praise.

  11. I fully agree with Dumpton. It’s not the migrants who will harm the U.K. its the Conservatives who have already done severe harm to the U.K. with coward Cameron causing mayhem by calling a referendum then running away leaving useless May then joker Boris to tell the follow me follow me I’ll show you the “the oven ready deal” what utter rubbish he never even put the cooker on. Over the years time and time again the Tories have done so much harm with their mad cap polices, sell sell sell Brexit Brexit Brexit.

    • Now it is jab, jab, jab. With 100 odd rebellions & others abstaining it is clear Boris has lost the support of his party & is now reliant on Labour & Lib Dems. Like Thatcher in the fall of 1990 he is surely on his way out.

  12. I would urge everybody posting messages here to remember that posts which include sexist, racist and homophobic remarks may constitute”malicious communications and racially aggravated public order offences”

    • Refugees Welcome.

      Yes indeed and perhaps you might like to issue this advice when Travellers are facing the same rhetoric.

  13. sadly true. we are not allowed a voice or an opinion in our own country , we have to bow to everyone and anyone , and only speak the truth behind closed doors , what a situation to get in. we cannot speak about anything for fear of offending someone, sometimes even people that dont actualy exist.

  14. Many people would disagree with you. You dont have an absolute right to say what you please. You have not been able to do that since 1986, with the Public Order Act, but of course other pieces applied before. The laws of your own country apply to you. Many people are able to express themselves without any negative consequence. Take, for instance, the case of that Prime Minister who lied in Parliament, and to the public. He expressed his views without any retribution. Freedom of speech is alive and well. But you dont have freedom of speech which is free of consequences.

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