AN OVERNIGHT vigil is to be held in the Vale of Glamorgan this evening in response to threats by an "extreme far-right" group to protest over plans to build homes for Ukrainian refugees in the area.

Leaflets by a group calling itself 'Patriotic Alternatives' have reportedly been circulated around Llantwit Major after the council approved plans to build temporary accommodation for Ukrainians fleeing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war at a site on the town’s Eagleswell Road.

In response, St Illtud’s Church in Llantwit Major will begin a vigil at 11.30pm tonight, lasting until 7am tomorrow morning.

Penarth Times: St Illtud’s ChurchSt Illtud’s Church (Image: Street View)

St Illtud’s Church. Picture: Street View 

The vigil is open to people of all faiths, or none, as a space to think, pray, and be with other members of the community for food and activities.

Vicar of St Illtud’s Church, Fr Edwin Counsell said: “Llantwit Major is a generous and welcoming community. This vigil places prayer and togetherness at the centre of our life, and my prayer is that we will invite God’s blessing and peace to our town.”

Each hour of the vigil will develop a theme around readings, reflections and music. At 3am there will be a ‘Punk Hour’, with videos and music remembering Rock Against racism in the late 1970s.

There will be prayers such as the Rosary at 1.30am and 4.30am, alongside secular poetry and readings. St Mark’s Gospel will be livestreamed on Facebook from 5.00am.

The vigil organisers are also encouraging people to bake Welsh Cakes and pizza will be available.

Fr Edwin said there is a feeling that the group are ‘muscling in’ on a strictly local matter, funding was only secured for the temporary housing scheme in mid-December 2022. 

It was reported that many in the area felt the site was suited for a local medical centre, however the council is proposing to build 90 units of temporary accommodation.

Penarth Times: The plans for the site at Eagleswell Road, to build accommodation for those in needThe plans for the site at Eagleswell Road, to build accommodation for those in need (Image: Newsquest)

The plans for the site at Eagleswell Road, to build accommodation for those in need

Vale MP Alun Cairns said he has notified the police about the threat of an "extreme right-wing" group protesting.

“From what I understand, Patriotic Alternatives is an extreme right-wing group, and as a result, I have been in touch with the police,” said Mr Cairns.

There have also been plans shared on social media for a counter protest by socialist revolutionary group the Welsh Underground Network.

Leader of the Vale Council, Liz Burnett, said the plans are for temporary homes, and that the site was selected because of among other things, its size and access to water, electricity and drainage.

“This is a significant investment by the council and Welsh Government that will provide high-quality short-term housing for those in need, such as refugees from the war in Ukraine,” said Cllr Burnett.

Homes for Ukrainians at Llantwit Major: What we know

The Vale of Glamorgan Council has provided answers to a number of key questions about the plans.

Why were local residents not informed about this earlier? Funding was only secured for the temporary housing scheme in mid-December 2022. 

How long will this remain as temporary accommodation? As it is unclear how long the war in Ukraine will last, it is not possible to say for certain how long the accommodation units will be needed. Once the conflict has ended, the time it may take for the country to stabilise and nationals to be repatriated is also not known. If the site were to remain beyond the period allowed under permitted development rights [a rule that allows planning permission for certain things without needing approval], this being one year, the council would have to submit a detailed planning application

What will happen to the site in the future? The site is allocated for housing development in the current local development plan and any future use is likely to involve residential development.

What about the medical centre? There has also been discussion with Cardiff and Vale Uuniversity Health Board about the use of some or all of the site for a new health centre for Llantwtit Major.  These discussions will continue and any permanent development of the site will be subject to public consultation.

Editor's note: We are reporting this story because we believe it is in the public interest that people are aware of both the plans and the protest. However, we have chosen not to publish the date of the planned protest.