Have your say on Dagenham prison
RESIDENTS should have their say over controversial plans to build a prison on a former industrial site The council is holding a consultation for residents in the affected River and Village wards to find out what they would like the site at Beam Park West
RESIDENTS should have their say over controversial plans to build a prison on a former industrial site
The council is holding a consultation for residents in the affected River and Village wards to find out what they would like the site at Beam Park West in Dagenham to be used for.
The government's announcement last April that a category B prison for 1,500 inmates would be built on the disused Ford factory site was met with protests.
Cllr Liam Smith, leader of the council added: "We've been opposed to having a prison here from the start, and I know it's an issue that the people of Dagenham feel very strongly about.
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"I believe the area deserves something better than a prison, which is why I hope local residents take this opportunity to let us - and more importantly, let the government know - what they would like to see on the site."
The London Development Agency and the Greater London Authority, as well as Dagenham MP Jon Cruddas, have opposed the plans, started online campaigns and called the site 'totally unsuitable' while the Ministry of Justice has claimed the prison would could bring 800 jobs and generate �30 million to the local economy.
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The council wants to use the site for new housing, health and community facilities, small industrial units or car parks for the existing Ford plant.
Cllr Mick McCarthy, Cabinet member for regeneration, said: "This is a massive opportunity for the borough and it is important that the right decision is made as it will affect not just our lives, but those of our children and grandchildren.
"That is why we want to hear as many opinions as possible. The consultation document specifically asks for other ideas, so please let us hear your ideas."
Dagenham MP Jon Cruddas said: "So far we have had over 12,000 residents respond to surveys, petitions, responses on the website, letters etc and it is still growing.
"Well over 95 per cent are against the proposal. We have suggested a proper sports complex for local people on the site- as proposed by the council before Boris Johnson and Jack Straw came up with this plan.
"We are determined to get this stopped and the more people get in contact and sign up the more likely it is we can stop this proposal."
In October last year, Justice Secretary Jack Straw visited the site to listen to opinions raised by local politicians and council officials.
The consultation document can be completed online at http://consult.lbbd.gov.uk/portal/planning_policy/south_dagenham_east/prison or until February 22.
You can also order the document by e-mailing email@example.com and return it to the reception at Barking Learning Centre.