Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, rose on the floor of the House of Commons yesterday to urge the Secretary of State for Justice to work with him to move the controversial Bail House.
The location of the Hostel, also known as Felmores Approved Premises, has long been a source of great contention with local residents who object to sex offenders being housed in a residential area within the vicinity of a local park and two primary schools.
Mr Metcalfe, who has long supported the plight of residents, asked the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling MP: “Felmores approved premises in my constituency is located near a school, a nursery, a playground and a densely populated housing estate. Does my right hon. Friend agree that although the provision of such premises is essential, a location such as the one I have described is inappropriate? Will he encourage probation trusts to work with the local community to find alternative locations?”
The Minister responded: “I have a lot of sympathy with my hon. Friend and I will ask the Minister responsible for prisons and probation whether he will work with him to look at the situation described. Clearly, it is not sensible to locate such facilities in highly sensitive locations, although my hon. Friend will agree that their provision in the community is vital.”
Mr Metcalfe later commented: “I am grateful to the Council and Essex Probation Services for the work they have already done on this issue, but It is vital that I keep drawing attention to this problem at the highest level. As long as it is a problem for residents, it is a problem for me and I will keep fighting to ensure that the voice of my constituents is heard.”
“I will ensure that the Justice Department follow up on their promise to work with me on the possibility of relocating the Approved Premises. I hope that we can come to a conclusion that suits all involved and where residents feel safe and secure in their community.”