Residents are welcoming Afghan families to the Chickerell training camp as part of a temporary accommodation scheme.

As previously reported in the Echo, the camp will house up to 60 people for six weeks at a time, with the first arrivals taking place yesterday.

This will amount to 250 people over six months whilst they are moved into more permanent lodgings. These will be families who are eligible to settle in the UK due to their contribution to UK objectives in Afghanistan.

Residents living around the camp said they feel the UK has a responsibility to aid these families.

One resident said: "Good on them. There is nowhere else for them to go and they helped us out. We owe them.

"It is not a case of us being happy or not, if it helps out it helps out."

Chickerell resident Westley Kirton said: "We have a responsibility to help. If it's families then nobody can say anything about families. 

"It doesn't affect me and it's people from a genuinely desperate situation. if they need somewhere to go let's put them somewhere local.

"I saw green netting go up and wondered what was going on. It (the camp) is not a bad place, although I think they should use that land a lot better."

Another resident said: "It is better than on the barge. Hopefully, they get some more freedom to walk around and get some fresh air.

"We definitely owe them a bit. There are still some people in this country that have some humanity."

A fellow Chickerell resident said: "They are more than welcome, and if anyone has a problem it's our own fault for destroying their country.

"They will just be normal people."

One neighbour added: "I welcome them. I am not worried at all."

This is part of a wider scheme to relocate entitled people who worked with or for the British Armed Forces and other Government departments throughout operations in Afghanistan.   

Chickerell Camp has been selected by the MoD as a site to temporarily accommodate Afghan Nationals as part of the MoD’s ARAP Scheme – Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy.

In a previous statement to the Echo, MP for West Dorset Chris Loder said the proposal is “completely different” to the situation with the Bibby Stockholm at Portland Port and says he welcomes the plans.