Michael Fabricant is questioning Jack Straw the Justice Secretary on
plans to build 5 prisons each to house 1500 adult male inmates in
locations which might include Curborough near Lichfield. Fabricant
says: "Curborough has been identified by the Ministry of Justice as a
possible site for one of these prisons. Having only just seen off the
proposed eco-town, this will be a hammer blow for many of my
constituents living in Curborough, Fradley and Boley Park.
"Two prison sites have already been listed in Dagenham and Chelmsford.
One of the remaining three prisons might be based at Curborough and I am
seeking urgent clarification from Jack Straw as to exactly when local
consultations will begin as to the suitability of this Lichfield site,
and as to how long the consultation will last and when a decision will
"In his statement to the House of Commons today which I attended, Jack
Straw said ‘Once a prison is established in an area, almost without
exception the local community becomes very supportive of it. A prison
is a source of secure, well paid employment and a focus for much
volunteering. The research evidence which shows that prisons have no
adverse effect on house prices or crime rates is then borne out by
experience’. I am not so sure.
"Whether this will be the case with a prison if it were built at
Curborough remains to be seen. I shall be taking local soundings about
these proposals. Given the continual pressure from housing developers
on the Curborough/Fradley airfield site, locals may find a small and
modern 1500 prisoner secure institution preferable to a housing
development. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. It’s early
days and I have no fixed view on this. The Ministry of Justice needs to
be more open as to the precise location and physical size of the prison
so that locals can take a considered view. I am asking Jack Straw to
either rule out Curborough or to publish without delay his detailed
plans so local people can make an informed judgement. This will help
inform me as to what stance to take in the best interests of my
"At some stage, it may be necessary to hold a public meeting once the
detailed proposals are known."