Manston processing centre empty with people at the site moved into accommodation

Manston processing centre Photo Louis McLaren

The Manston processing centre is currently empty with people seeking asylum who were held at the site being found accommodation.

The centre was designed to process up to 1,600 people over a 24/48 hour period.

However, a high number of small boat Channel crossings this Autumn and a firebomb attack at the Dover Home Office facility which necessitated the move of 700 people saw numbers at Manston soar to 4,000.

The centre has been in the spotlight following cases of diphtheria and other illnesses, concerns over conditions, the holding of some people for up to a month and issues with the need for instances of ‘use of force interventions.’

On November 19 the Home Office confirmed a person who was at the Manston asylum processing centre had died in hospital. It is understood the death was not caused by infectious disease. The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman is investigating the death and the case has been referred to the Kent coroner.

Yesterday the government said the number of people at the centre was down to just 300.

The Guardian first reported the news today (November 22) that the Manston site has been vacated for now. This follows a lull in small boat crossings due to poor weather conditions.

The Home Office has confirmed that no-one is currently accommodated at the Manston centre.

A Government spokesperson said: ‘’Staff across the Home Office have worked tirelessly under challenging circumstances to source alternative accommodation as quickly as possible for those who have been processed at Manston.

“Thanks to their efforts, there are currently no people being accommodated on-site, and improvements continue to be made to the site to ensure it remains well-resourced to process migrants safely and securely.

‘’The global migration crisis continues to place an unprecedented and unsustainable strain on our asylum system, which is why we remain focussed on deterring illegal migration and disrupting the criminal gangs responsible for these dangerous crossings.”

Clearsprings Ready Homes is the company contracted to find and operate accommodation in the south of England and in Wales for people awaiting asylum claims – which included the most recent procurement of student rooms at the former Broadstairs uni campus although this was vacated just two days later.

Clearsprings has two Home Office contracts. The value of these is £662 million for operations in the South and £334 million for Wales totalling £996 million for the 10 year period.

The Telegraph reports that Ministers are now drawing up plans to transfer thousands of people from hotels to disused student accommodation, redundant military bases or outdated and unused holiday camps.

The Public and Commercial Services union has claimed that the rapid removal of people out of Manston processing centre came after the union, , Detention Action and a woman held at the facility issued legal action against Home Secretary Suella Braverman.

The complaint against the Home Secretary contends the woman was detained:

  • in excess of statutory time limits;
  • in overcrowded, unhygienic and unsafe conditions that constitute inhuman or degrading treatment;
  • beyond the legal powers of the home secretary;
  • contrary to the government’s published detention policy;
  • in violation of the right not to be detained arbitrarily;
  • in inadequate conditions with a lack of privacy, where she was denied telephone access to family members and lawyers.

PCS head of bargaining Paul O’Connor said: “The conditions at Manston that refugees and our members have had to endure recently have been a disgrace. We’re pleased the Home Secretary has been forced to respond to our concerns but we shouldn’t have needed to resort to the threat of legal action before they were addressed.

“The government’s entire approach on asylum is a failure. Our members need the time, space and resources to deliver a functioning system free from the type of crisis management we see all too often.

“It’s time to design a system based on a rational assessment of need and for the Home Secretary to drop her increasingly irrational rhetoric on the issue.”

Thanet councillors will discuss the issue of the Manston asylum processing centre at a meeting this week. The issue has been added to the Overview and Scrutiny Panel agenda for November 24.

The rising profits made by Clearsprings Ready Homes through asylum contracts – and a look at the issue of application backlogs


  1. Think there will be some serious legal problems for the government over this latest fiasco. The death at the weekend seems to have been the tipping point.

  2. Does Thanet District Council have any comment on this all? Besides having a basic sense of decency, are they not gravely concerned about the mistreatment of people, vulnerable people and guests of the nation, on their patch? A coastal area of outstanding beauty which risks becoming infamous for its concentration camp rather than holiday camps. I should think TDC would be pressuring the Home Office and the private companies running the place to take proper care of people, observe law and humane decency and stop all the unaccountable secrecy.

  3. All in hotels, yet are own homeless ( as shown on TV, IE nurse and family told not eligible for social housing) what a mess this country is under Tories.

  4. quite right chris , i could not afford an all inclusive stay in a hotel . they must be laughing thier heads off at us , and no doubt theres advisors at the hotel showing them how to claim everything , roll on the next general election.

  5. Don’t trust any party but do think they should be able to work together and stop acting like chimp’s tea party. 12 years of cut backs then Truss costing the country 39 billion in days of office and they (Tories) still can’t say sorry won’t admit that they got it wrong. Yet continue to pay themselves big ££££, shareholders make £££ yet services get worse and the general public get penalised for there mistakes.
    If you vote Tories then you vote for modern day slavery and profit. Bring on mass strikes and show this government it’s time for change.

  6. They tried to put some of them in the Blazing Donkey pub and hotel near Eastry, but the landlord refused the £1.1. million bribe, and has been on several news channels criticising of the lunacy of the government’s migrant accomodation policy (I’m sure we’d all like to stay in a luxury hotel complete with jacuzzi and spa rooms!).

    • I don’t think that the government is striving to source expensive 4* luxury hotels with en-suite what-nots: I suspect they’ll book any accommodation that they can get their hands on, given the situation.

      • This place already has more than a 100 weddings booked for next year. Not only would they be cancelled, but the bar area would have to be shut down and all staff laid off with no notice. This is happening all over the country.

        • I know something: I’ll never vote for Roger Gale again, as his priority has been getting them out of Manston rather than caring about the ruination of other businesses in Kent and elsewhere. If only there was a hotel in Preston near Wingham…

  7. Well how convenient, they all get accommodation within a few weeks while our own homeless and those turned out their homes for no fault of their own have not a chance in hell without going through multitudes hurdles. Somethings wrong somewhere !!

  8. Try looking at the Minster (Thanet) Holiday Inn. Now full of coaches and cars.
    I wonder who the clientele are? It appears some of them didn’t come very far but I could be wide of the mark there, of course.
    Costing a fortune. In the meantime, Thanet still has a largely unaddressed but small homeless problem. Sure many of them would love that big, bright and warm Holiday Inn to rest their souls and enjoy a hot bath and sustaining meal on the British taxpayer, of which even as a pensioner I am still one.

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