Prison plan axed

THE Justice Secretary, Jack Straw, has caved in to public demands and scrapped plans for a 1,500-inmate prison in Dagenham. There was a public outcry in April when proposals for the category B jail to be built at Beam Park West were announced. Labour MP f

THE Justice Secretary, Jack Straw, has caved in to public demands and scrapped plans for a 1,500-inmate prison in Dagenham.

There was a public outcry in April when proposals for the category B jail to be built at Beam Park West were announced.

Labour MP for Dagenham Jon Cruddas handed in a 15,000-signature petition opposing the prison at Downing Street last week.

After Mr Straw announced his U-turn, Mr Cruddas said: "This is a victory for local people. They spoke and the government listened. Our campaign's not over, now we have to deliver the kind of community facilities local people deserve on this site."

The Ministry of Justice said it had abandoned plans for the jail because of potential flood risks, costs and people's views. It is looking for alternative sites in London to tackle prison overcrowding.

Barking and Dagenham Council is campaigning for new housing, health and community facilities and small industrial units on the 20-hectare former Ford site, owned by the London Development Agency.

Most Read

A final decision on the future of the site is to be made by a planning inspector later this year.

Council leader Cllr Liam Smith said: "We've been opposed to a prison in Dagenham from day one, so I'm glad Jack Straw has listened to the arguments against locating a prison here and that he has recognised the strength of local opinion.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter