The barge will be fenced off where it is berthed to prevent migrants from wandering around the port and it will also be monitored by round-the-clock security. But migrants are free to come and go – and local councillors have been told that there will be hourly bus services to take them of the port and on trips to Weymouth, and potentially other major towns like Bournemouth.
However, those who remain out past the voluntary 11pm curfew will be called by phone to confirm their location. Any who stay out for more than seven days, or 14 calendar days and nights within any six-month period, will face removal from Portland.
Spencer Flower, the Tory leader of Dorset Council said the authority remains opposed to the plan and said the Home Office has failed to answer questions about the scheme. And Portland mayor Pete Roper suggested women who live close to the barge had expressed fears about their safety.
He told The Telegraph: “I get a sense that the personal safety of the women on the island is rising to the top of the list. There is a lot of hearsay floating around at the moment regarding the behaviour of asylum seekers at hotels in other parts of the country,”
“That just appears to be hearsay. It is difficult to get any concrete confirmation that this is in fact happening. But it is now getting to be a major concern because of the fact that it’s on our doorstep down the road in Falmouth.”