Petition launched amid mixed reaction to Dagenham prison proposals

Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham

Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham - Credit: Archant

MP Jon Cruddas has launched a petition against re-ignited plans to build a mega prison, amid mixed reactions to the proposals.

Mr Cruddas has already gathered 1,000 signatures opposing the move, which would see a 2,000-inmate jail built at Beam Park, Dagenham.

The Dagenham and Rainham MP and his team have delivered 30 petitions to local shops and spoken to a number of residents about the proposals, put forward by the London Mayor’s Office, which owns the land.

Mr Cruddas’ spokesman said: “The overwhelming response we have had so far is that people do not want this prison, especially those living close by.”

In a poll on the Post website, 106 people voted against the prison, while 51 voted for it. However the majority of comments posted on social networking forums Facebook, Twitter and were in favour of the plans.

Many said a jail would bring much-needed jobs and would not pose a safety threat as inmates would be locked up.

One person commented that a prison might act as a deterrent to those considering crime and another said she had lived near a jail before and never noticed it.

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In 2009, the London Mayor’s Office announced it was considering building a 1,500-inmate prison at Beam Park. But the plans were scrapped in 2010 following opposition from residents and Mr Cruddas, who presented a 15,000-signature petition to No 10.

As exclusively revealed in last week’s Post, the London Mayor’s Office sent a letter to council leader Cllr Liam Smith earlier this month saying the land is once again being considered as a site for a prison.

Mr Cruddas and Cllr Smith are due to meet Sir Edward Lister, chief of staff and deputy mayor for planning and policy, at the Mayor’s Office next week.