Labour councillor for Pitsea North West Gavin Callaghan, has met the Prisons Minister Andrew Selous MP at the Ministry of Justice to discuss the relocation of the Felmores Approved Premise.
During discussions the following key new developments were secured by Cllr Callaghan:
1)The Ministry of Justice WILL fund a new relocation if an affordable alternative can be found.
2)Basildon Council can search for a new site OUTSIDE of the Essex County Council region.
3)The Minister agreed with Cllr Callaghan to look at business parks and industrial sites as potential new locations.
4)A fully costed sum that includes all running costs and valuation of the property will be supplied to Basildon Council to use as a benchmark in their search.
5)The Prisons Minister will write to Basildon Council to inform them that this is back on the table and no search should be stopped in a cost-cutting exercise.
After the meeting Cllr Callaghan explained, “Today I delivered on my promise to the people of Pitsea North West that I would take the issue of the Felmores Bail Hostel to the heart of government.
“I was enormously encouraged by the response of the minister and my message to officer’s at Basildon Council is very clear; in terms of finding a new site that meets this specific criteria and that matches existing funding arrangements, it’s game on!
“The current location is totally unsuitable. It cannot be allowed to stay where it is. I promised to represent people on the Felmores estate and speak up for them. I did that today and the Minister is in no doubt that as a community, we will continue to do all we can to have this facility moved.
“In the coming weeks I hope to sit down with officers at the council and have a strategic look at our business parks and industrial sites across the borough, to determine whether we have a safer place for this facility in Basildon”.