Penally Barracks, in Pembrokeshire, is to be returned to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) by 21 March, and over the coming week there will be a “phased exit” from the site, the department said in an email to NGOs.
It comes a week after inspectors found people were being held in “uninhabitable” accommodation at the camp, with “inadequate” support and a failure by the Home Office to “exercise adequate oversight” of the way the facility was run.
Charities and lawyers have warned of dire conditions at the camp – and another military site, Napier Barracks in Kent – since hundreds of people claiming asylum were moved to the sites in September last year.
Naomi Phillips, director of policy and advocacy at the British Red Cross, welcomed the news of the closure, and said the Home Office must also close the Kent camp.
“We have consistently raised serious concerns with the Home Office that Penally, and other barracks sites, are completely inappropriate and inhumane as housing for people fleeing war, persecution and violence,” she said.
“We want to see the urgent closure of these sites, and a long-term solution that allows people to live in safe, suitable and secure accommodation.”
The Home Office has been approached for comment.