Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us »
Basildon Council branded 'complacent' over bail hostel
6:00am Wednesday 9th October 2013 in News
CAMPAIGNERS have been warned they still face long delays over the relocation of a controversial bail hostel near their homes.
Labour councillor for Pitsea North West Gavin Callaghan has criticised Basildon Council’s “culture of complacency” after it emerged residents on the Felmores estate would have to endure a longer than expected wait for the hostel to be moved.
The search for a new home for the notorious Felmores hostel, in Pitsea, is set to continue with senior councillors expected to approve plans this week to look beyond Basildon for a suitable new site.
The controversial hostel houses dangerous criminals and sex offenders, right in the heart of the Felmores estate.
After officers took three months to decide there was nowhere suitable in the borough to relocate the hostel, Basildon Council is now set to look at other parts of Essex and the eastern region, fuelling more delays.
Residents have been campaigning for years to get the hostel moved from Pitsea.
At a cabinet meeting the authority will also approve plans to continue talks with Essex Probation Service, but Mr Callaghan claims none of the authority’s Tory cabinet have met with the service in the last year, and council officers don’t even know the specifications for building a new hostel.
He said: “This sums up the culture of complacency in this ruling Tory administration at the moment.
“Councillors haven’t even got a specification from the Ministry of Justice on what is needed for the new hostel – such as number of bedrooms, bathrooms – the basics just aren’t being asked.
“The council should be leading on this, but there’s no joined up thinking.
“Now we’ll go to County Hall and ask them if they want a paedophile place in their area. There are not going to be many takers.”
The Ministry of Justice has committed itself to funding the relocation of the hostel, providing a suitable new location can be found.
There have been numerous incidents of the hostel’s residents committing sex offences while living there, leading to public outcry on the estate.
Billie McManus, 37, of Bockingham Green, said: “I remember growing up on the estate and my parents being worried about it, so it’s too long for this to keep dragging on.
“The council needs to pull its finger out and get something sorted.
Comments are closed on this article.