Asylum seeker processing site at Manston’s former fire training centre to replace soon to close Tug Haven in Dover

The Manston site (image google maps)

The former Fire Training and Development Centre at Manston  will be used from this month for processing those that arrive in the country seeking asylum through ’illegal’ routes with the closure of Dover’s Tug Haven short-term immigration detention facilities.

In December the Home Office confirmed that part of the Ministry of Defence site at Manston will be used as a processing centre for asylum seekers from this month.

The new, secure site will hold people for up to five days as security and identity checks are completed. Short term initial accommodation will be provided for people during their time on the Manston site.

The Home Office says people will be brought there for initial screening and processing before going onto longer term accommodation. The site provides all the amenities and services needed for a short term stay.

People who travel to the UK through safe and legal routes – such as the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy or Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme – will not be taken to Manston.

Tonight (January20) the Home Office has confirmed Tug Haven will no longer be used from the end of this month due to the tenancy for the site coming to an end. Individuals who arrive into Dover will go through initial checks at Dover port, then on to the site at Manston for further processing.

The former fire training 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.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The Government has a number of statutory duties for the welfare and wellbeing of migrants who come to the UK and which are completed on their arrival.

“The former Ministry of Defence site at Manston is ready to support onward processing of those arriving. We will continue to bring individuals rescued from the Channel into the most appropriate port, including Dover.”

In December Air Cadets and Army Reservists who were based at the site were 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 raised in Parliament the issue of the asylum seeker processing centre being established at Manston branding it a ‘kneejerk reaction’ railroaded through without any consultation with Thanet MPs, Thanet council or Kent County Council.

Sir Roger said the proposed site at the former fire training and defence centre was “inappropriate” and would have “unfortunate and undesirable consequences for the communities and the people affected and the government.”

He also said there were phase 2 and phase 3 proposals that the Home Office has not discussed or consulted on with Thanet’s MPs and authorities.

He said phase two was for transfer and triage facilities from Tug Haven to Manston – which has now been confirmed – and phase 3 was an expansion of facilities to handle a still to be determined number of asylum seeking people.

It has been reported that  temporary housing for people seeking asylum will be created on Ministry of Defence land across the UK.

The government says its Nationality and Borders Bill will make it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK illegally and will introduce life sentences for those who facilitate illegal entry into the country. It will also strengthen the powers of Border Force to stop and redirect vessels, while introducing new powers to remove asylum seekers to have their claims processed outside the UK.

North Thanet MP slams Home Office plan to hold people seeking asylum in “marquees” during winter at Manston


  1. well at least there might be some fire fighting kit left behind for when they burn it down and generaly wreck the place, i dont imagine for a moment this will be good enough for them – time will tell.

  2. I will comment it will be negative and I will become a target of the do gooders and woke brigade. Suffice to just mention they are ILLEGAL immigrants who have more money than a lot of our own people – there’s not many in the Thanet area that can afford the cost of a dingy ride across the channel. Keep them here for the five days then reopen the ferry terminal and send them back to Europe.

  3. Why cannot they build a holding centre in France and ship them straight back ? . This would save lives as no point in them risking them.

  4. I love the term ‘rescued’ when talking about these illegal migrants. ‘Ferried for free’ might be a more accurate term to use, taxi service by the coast guards and lifeboats might be another. It won’t be long before we get complaints about the accommodation and food either, mark my word.

    • Yes – it is somewhat ironic that these hard-done-by and destitute migrants have paid £3,000 in cash to a people-smuggler for their passage across the channel – and yet the UK taxpayers are funding the Coastguard and Border Force to facilitate their safe passage (along with UK residents who donate funds to the lifeboat).

      Safe passage is available on cross-channel ferries at a fraction of the cost. Migrants could just buy a ferry ticket – or indeed the UK Government could just ship them in at a fraction of the cost . . .

  5. Had idiots NOT got Brexit done then these people could have been deported back to France . However because the likes of Boris wanted an hard Brexit the U.K.s agreements with EU was abolished.
    Therefore France will NOT take them back. The latest is that useless Home Secretary Priti Patel has stopped as of today publishing the numbers who are coming over into the U.K. Not one of the 28,000 or the £58 million spent in 2021 has resulted in NOT one being deported. You can thank the Brexit-tears for that. How ironic that Farage kept yapping about all the Eastern Europeans coming into the U.K. and he wanted Brexit yet when the Australians deported tennis player Novak for being there illegally Farage said “ the Aussies are a disgrace” idiot of the first order.

    • And how many got deported prior to Brexit ? Very few.

      The only solution is to set up a processing centre in a third country outside the EU where all claims are processed and arrange transport for those to the UK whose claims are successful. Those whose claims are refused will be arrested upon entering the UK if they still insist on making the journey as illegal entrants.

      Will prevent people making the journey across the channel and save a fortune and may make the attractiveness of reaching the UK lower.

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