Protestors have gathered at Portland Port on Tuesday as they are against 500 asylum seekers living on the Bibby Stockholm barge.
Residents are protesting with placards shouting chants and a local resident said they are fearful over the safety of their children and women as there will be 500 “bored single men.”
Dorset Council have paid a one off payment of £377,000 to set up English lessons, volunteering opportunities and other activities for the 500 asylum seekers with an additional cost of £3,500 per occupied bed.
Portland Port received a confidential payment from the government for the Bibby Stockholm barge to be docked.
Kelvin Thomson said, “It’s a fear for the ladies of the island, the young girls and boys, with the influx of 500 very bored men with nothing to do.
“They are young men which frightens me a lot. I fear for my daughter, I have been on Amazon buying sprays and alarms.
“My concern is nothing to do with racism, it’s just what are 500 bored men going to do with next to no money?”
Chantelle Warren, from nearby Weymouth, said: “I don’t think Portland is the right place for 500 men to come, they are going to have massive cultural differences to the people that are here, it could potentially not be good at all.
“If you need a dentist you can’t find one, I think it’s going to be too much of a stretch on local resources, when places like London and Liverpool have said no because they don’t have the infrastructure why are they putting it here?”
Lisa Black said: “My feelings on the barge is Portland Port have done a shameful act in doing a deal with the Government with no consultation, no consent, no consideration at all for the people of Portland.
“We are struggling to get doctor’s appointments, we can’t get a dentist appointment and we are bursting at the seems and Portland Port have no consideration to that all, they are just going to bring a barge in with 500 people on it and they are going to have access to our doctors and our dentists and we can’t.”
Councillor Laura Beddow, portfolio holder for culture and communities, said: “It is essential that we can continue to meet residents’ needs while also providing new services for asylum seekers, without any additional pressure on local taxpayers.
“We have been working very closely with our partners, including Dorset Police and NHS Dorset, as well as with the Home Office and Portland Port to ensure robust arrangements are in place.
“This includes additional community safety officers in Portland and Weymouth, extending the operational hours of the CCTV in the area, providing safeguarding training for barge staff, and working in partnership with local voluntary and community organisations.
“The decision to site a floating barge in Portland Port for 500 asylum seekers was made by the Home Office and facilitated through a commercial arrangement with Portland Port. Dorset Council was not consulted and had no decision-making powers over this arrangement.
“From the outset, Dorset councillors have been clear about their concerns and opposition to the location of this scheme.
“The council explored options to pursue legal action to challenge the Home Office’s decision.
“Following specialist legal advice and the experience of other councils across the country, Dorset Council made the decision not to take legal action as it was unlikely to be successful and would incur high costs to local taxpayers.”
Portland Port states on its website, “The port, which is a privately-owned business, also strongly believes that providing a berth for the Bibby Stockholm is the right thing to do.
“The Home Office approached Portland Port some months ago, initially through a ship’s agent, to enquire about berthing a vessel to house asylum seekers. The port did not approach the Home Office.
“The port has space, the capacity, infrastructure to support the Government’s requirements.
“It will allow the port and Dorset to play its part in the national effort to house some of the thousands of asylum seekers needing accommodation, including some who have left war-torn countries and the threat of persecution overseas.”