Criminals jailed in houses

A breach of the planning system - an unauthorised change of use from residential (C3) to secure residential institution (C2A).

If the Headley facility at Ashtead required planning permission in the face of vociferous objection, then why not this change of use?

Those concerned residents should contact the local authority planning department to instigate enforcement action and an application for retrospective planning permission - which can be objected to. I can't see a 50,000 signature petition supporting this particular situation!

Edited to add: I emailed the journalist suggesting it may be worth exploring further. No direct interest, but this sort of government diktat and incompetence (which flouts their own rules) makes one's blood temperature increase somewhat! You wouldn't get one of these in Connaught Square or next to a certain big house in North Queensferry...
We made huge mistakes over this prisons issue. We already have the real estate (Or had) in the form of disused Army barracks. Recruit a guard force, build a big elctric fence and leave them to it. I've slept 32 up in a nissan hot for periods of 6 months and was paid for the privilege. Why not afford the same to offenders.
Chain gangs could also bring focus into their lives, farmers are subsidised to trim hedges, prisoners could do this if issued with nail clippers. An extreme example perhaps.
It looks as if the politicians are setting precedents so that they will not have to go to nasty prisons themselves when (hopefully) they are caught for one of their numerous corrupt practices.
It's happening in Wales as well:

Anger at 'prisoner' house plans

Councillors have been told three people at a time will use the house
A plan for a house in Carmarthenshire to be used for offenders has sparked anger among residents and councillors.
Up to three prisoners eligible for tagging or those on remand or awaiting sentence could use the semi-detached home in a cul-de-sac in Burry Port.

More than 100 residents met on Monday when it was claimed the community had not been properly consulted.

The Ministry of Justice said it would not be used by dangerous offenders and said it was committed to consultation.

The UK government launched the Bail Accommodation and Support Service scheme in England and Wales last year.

It is expected around 500 people will be housed in such accommodation by the summer.

But certain offenders, including all those convicted of or charged with sex offences, arson or who are considered to pose a significant risk to the public, are not eligible.

The meeting was moved to a larger venue because so many attended

There is no requirement for planning permission for such accommodation but the Ministry of Justice said it was committed to talking to local authorities and police.

But county councillor Stephen James claimed there had been little consultation over the use of the semi-detached property at Brynymor.

"The house is on a small little residential cul-de-sac where there are mainly families and elderly people.

"We are about as irate as we can be."

He said they had been told up to three people would stay at the house at any one time and it was expected to be occupied by the end of January.

Mr James said he understood other properties in Carmarthenshire would also be used.

Fellow councillor John Davies said he was "furious" about the plans as the location was "totally inappropriate."

"Public resources"

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said the house would be run by a private contractor called Clearsprings, who would take "extensive consultation" with agencies in the area..

"The accommodation will allow courts to bail defendants who are currently unable to provide a bail address or who could not be bailed without support.

"It will also provide accommodation for offenders who are eligible to be released on home detention curfew but lack suitable accommodation.

"This will reduce the loss of liberty and consequent damaging impacts on family life, employment and housing."

The spokesperson said it would also help save on prison places, court escorts and costs of visits to prisons.
Makes me furious. Campaigners had to fight tooth and nail to get planning permission for the Headley Court facility, but the local authority seems to want to bend over backwards for the "ministry of justice" (an Orwellian creation if there ever was one!). I firmly believe they are wrong as well, and the use does require planning permission (as a hostel or residential institution). You wouldn't get one of these next door to any politicians and, as we all know, the justice system is as much use as a wet paper bag when it comes to lowlife criminals. It is only a matter of time before some poor local is beaten or stabbed to death by a supposed "prisoner" tanked up on cider.

As an afterthought, may be worth a FoI to find out the extent of the policy in terms of numbers and locations.

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