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MP calls for consultation on potential prison site in Lichfield

Michael Fabricant MP

Michael Fabricant MP

The inclusion of Curborough in a national list of potential sites for new 1,500-capacity prisons has led to calls for more information from Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant.

The Government plans to build five of the new supersize jails and has already confirmed two sites in Dagenham and Chelmsford.

But with three other locations still to be identified, a prison still could be built on the site of the proposed eco-town in Curborough after it was identified as a potential location on a Government list of 76 sites.

Mr Fabricant said:

“Curborough has been identified by the Ministry of Justice as a possible site for one of these prisons. Having only just seen off the proposed eco-town, this will be a hammer blow for many of my constituents living in Curborough, Fradley and Boley Park.

“One of the remaining three prisons might be based at Curborough and I am seeking urgent clarification from Jack Straw as to exactly when local consultations will begin as to the suitability of this Lichfield site, and as to how long the consultation will last and when a decision will be made.”

Mr Fabricant also questioned Jack Straw’s claim in the House of Commons that “once a prison is established in an area, almost without exception the local community becomes very supportive of it”.

Mr Straw claimed that a prison is a source of secure, well paid employment for the local area and added that research shows that prisons have “no adverse effect on house prices or crime rates”.

Mr Fabricant added:

“Whether this will be the case with a prison if it were built at Curborough remains to be seen. I shall be taking local soundings about these proposals.

“Given the continual pressure from housing developers on the Curborough/Fradley airfield site, locals may find a small and modern 1500 prisoner secure institution preferable to a housing development. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. It’s early days and I have no fixed view on this.

“The Ministry of Justice needs to be more open as to the precise location and physical size of the prison so that locals can take a considered view. I am asking Jack Straw to either rule out Curborough or to publish without delay his detailed plans so local people can make an informed judgement. This will help inform me as to what stance to take in the best interests of my constituents.

“At some stage, it may be necessary to hold a public meeting once the detailed proposals are known.”

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