Courthouses

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st January 1988.

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Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess , Basildon 12:00 am, 21st January 1988

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has any plans to amend the system for approval of the construction of courthouses so as to reduce delays.

Photo of Mr John Patten Mr John Patten , Oxford West and Abingdon

No, Sir. The procedures are already designed to ensure that scarce capital resources are used to provide good operational buildings economically and as quickly as possible. I understand that Essex county council intends to go to tender this week for the new magistrates courthouse in Basildon, with a view to completion early in 1990.

Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess , Basildon

Will my hon. Friend accept my gratitude and that of my constituents for the support of the Home Office and Essex county council for the building of the new courthouse in Basildon? Will he also accept that, due to the intolerable pressures on the old courthouse in Billericay, it would be irresponsible for anyone to delay the building of the new courthouse further?

Photo of Mr John Patten Mr John Patten , Oxford West and Abingdon

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend, and I hope that there will be no further delays with the new courthouse now that it has gone to tender. My hon. Friend's warm thanks are greatly appreciated. They are sometimes sparing in the direction of the Dispatch Box. I quite often happily visit Basildon with my hon. Friend. I will be there shortly in his company looking at an important crime prevention project funded by the private sector, and I hope to have a chance to look at the new courthouse site.

Mr. John M. Taylor:

Will my hon. Friend take the opportunity to consider the merits of combined magistrates and county court buildings, such as the excellent building at Staines in Middlesex, and contrast that with the position in Solihull, where we have a superb magistrates court, but no county court?

Photo of Mr John Patten Mr John Patten , Oxford West and Abingdon

I sometimes go to Solihull as well. We consider the issues on their merits. We like to try to combine the provision of justice with the provision of other social facilities wherever that makes sense for the local community and can be afforded.