Councillors in Penally have been provided with an update on the village’s former military training camp.

It was revealed last year, that Penally Training Camp - controversially used to house asylum seekers during the Covid lockdowns - had been put up for sale by the UK Government.

The former military facility near Tenby, which opened in 1860, was used extensively throughout both World Wars, but was repurposed as temporary accommodation by the Home Office to hold asylum seekers from September 2020 until March 21 the following year, during the pandemic.

Eventually, the training camp returned to Military of Defence control, following a damning inspection report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons and the independent chief inspector of Borders and Immigration, which highlighted the environment as being “rundown”, “impoverished” and “unsuitable for long-term accommodation”.

Sparking speculation as to who may purchase the site, county councillor for the ward Cllr Phil Kidney said that the ‘official news’ was that the site was ‘not for sale on the open market’.

Penally camp
Penally camp (Pic. Gareth Davies Photography)

“The process with the MOD is it is first offered to any other departments within the MOD, and no interest has been shown, it is now being offered to any other Government departments, and if they show no interest, it will be put on the open market,” Cllr Kidney told the Observer.

At the recent meeting of Penally Community Council, Cllr Snow reported correspondence received from Lt Col Richard Pope OBE, Commander Defence Training Estate – Wales and West Midlands.

It was explained that the camp will continue to be managed by staff in conjunction with the Industry Partner, whilst it continues to be prepared for disposals.

The site has been isolated and made safe and works to drain off internal water supplies, gas purging etc has been completed. The site has been the subject of multiple visits by internal environmental colleagues, archaeological and other technical leads who are all leading on the multitude of inspections, assessments and surveys required as part of the MOD disposal process.

Penally Camp
Penally Camp (Pic. Gareth Davies Photography)

With work continuing, a final decision on who the future owner will be, and when is not yet known. The site has already been reviewed by the MOD’s archaeological team.

As the site is now in the disposals process, they are unable to offer access to the local historical group, who have been given reassurances that a detailed assessment has taken place.