Portland resident Carralyn Parkes has today launched a legal challenge against the Home Office for the placement of the Bibby Stockholm asylum seeker barge at Portland Port.

She is seeking a judicial review on the grounds that planning permission was neither sought nor granted.

Carralyn Parkes is currently the serving Mayor of Portland and a Portland Town Councillor but is taking action in a personal capacity.

Mrs Parkes has launched a fundraising page to try and raise money for the legal challenge.

The Home Office was served papers yesterday and has 14 days to respond.

Cllr Parkes said: "I am doing this as an individual as I believe there should be a legal challenge.

"I firmly believe the Home Office have exceeded their powers.

"If you or I want to put up a porch at our home, we need to apply for planning permission.

"It's wrong that the Home Office does what it likes without complying with the same rules.

"If they'd applied for planning permission, they would have had to consult with local people - but we never got the right to have our say.

"I also believe that planning permission would have been refused.

It comes just a day after the first asylum seekers moved onto the Bibby Stockholm barge at Portland Port.

Cllr Parkes will be working alongside legal firm Deighton Pierce Glynn who will handle the case.

A spokesperson for Deighton Pierce Glynn Solicitors claimed: "The Home Secretary is circumventing planning permission procedures to use the Bibby Stockholm barge to accommodate vulnerable asylum seekers in conditions which are clearly inadequate The Home Secretary’s plans have caused widespread concern in our client’s local community, and have deprived the council of its ability to exert relevant planning control.

"We will be asking the court to declare that planning permission is required and that the Home Secretary must follow the relevant procedures."

Campaigner Nicola David of the One Life to Live group has worked alongside Cllr Parkes and the legal firm to bring the court case.

Mrs David said: "Unfortunately Dorset Council didn’t make any legal challenge themselves, and I’ve heard that Portland Town Council has taken a lot of flak for not doing it.

"But actually the town council has no statutory power to do that. So in the end, it’s Carralyn who has stepped up for her community – as an individual.

“This could be the only way to stop this insane plan. Protests and banners are a good indicator of local opinion, but the Home Office expects it – and takes no notice.

"But if you issue a legal challenge, the Home Office has no choice but to turn up to court.

“Taking the government to the High Court isn’t for the faint-hearted, but Carralyn is incredibly impressive. I hope she wins, for everyone’s sake.”