Prison plans for Beam Park reissued

The Ministry of Justice have recently contacted London Mayor Boris Johnson outlining the government's strategy to establish a new modern prison with a 2000 place capacity in Dagenham. The original plans that were put forward in 2009 for a 1500 capacity prison were fought against by thousands of constituents and the proposal was overthrown. These new plans propose a larger facility than the one put forward in 2009.

London Mayor Boris Johnson who heads the London Development Agency (LDA) owns the Beam Park site that is being targeted and as such could step in to stop the proposals. The site is situated between Dagenham and Rainham and will create negative social connotations in the wider area. The Ministry of Justice has stated that this is one of the very few sites in London that meet the planning policy criteria for a large scale prison facility.

The Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor for Planning and Policy at the Greater London Authority stated: "I am very mindful of the local concerns and perceptions which can be associated with such proposals in new locations." It has been suggested that the development of a prison on the Beam Park site will provide a major opportunity to improve long term employment prospects.

Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham fought against the proposals last time and is prepared to pick up where he left off on the issue. Last time round Jon tabled over 50 parliamentary questions relating to the plans, covering every aspect of the proposals and highlighting major concerns regarding the suitability of the site.

YOU can make a difference! Download a petition here: PRISON PETITION and join the fight against these potential damaging proposals.

Recently Jon has motivated the local community to campaign successfully against the closure of Dagenham Police Station, highlighting that when standing together residents in the local area can have a huge impact on change.

Jon Cruddas MP said: "It comes as a great disappointment to me that these proposals are being put forward again, when the local residents made their views on the issue perfectly clear three years ago. I can't help but feel this is a direct attack on the area by the Tories. This will not only have effects on Barking and Dagenham it is a cross borough issue – I hope the Council leadership of both boroughs oppose these plans. The Tories have seen a depleted local economy and gone for the jugular under the guise of ‘new job opportunities'. It is true that we need more job opportunities in Dagenham and Rainham but this is not the way to introduce them.

I will be working hard over the coming weeks and months to fight this decision, ensuring that all local residents have their say. I am also urging both Councils and London Mayor Boris Johnson to oppose these proposals. The success of the last campaign was a testament to people power and it is important that we get the message out again to build local support. I have started a petition and I know the people of Dagenham, Rainham, South Hornchurch and Elm Park will be fighting alongside me raising awareness. This proposal will not be slipped in through the back door without proper public consultation."

Jon has recently been doing a lot of work to promote local businesses and ensure economic growth in the area, including the regeneration of the Sanofi Aventis site which is set to develop later this year. The site is to include a Sainsbury's superstore and there have been discussions about a new Travelodge. In addition to this Jon is to co-host a Google workshop in early May to help improve small businesses and their web presence. There is a lot of investment coming into the area and that is set to boost Job opportunities throughout Dagenham and Rainham over the course of the next year.

On this basis Jon Cruddas MP is urging local residents not to be tricked into thinking we are in a dire position, and that a prison offering jobs is the way to sustain the area. "The area is set for a boost and making a decision to build a prison between Dagenham and Rainham is not in my opinion, for the greater good. This proposal will make the area less attractive for businesses looking to invest locally and in the long run it will be detrimental to our local economy."

YOU can make a difference! Download a petition here: PRISON PETITION and join the fight to stop these potentially damaging proposals.