Ministry of Justice considers sell off of Maghull prison site, L

Maghull Labour Action Team’s Lynn Gatherer with Labour MP Bill Esterson at the site where the prison was to be built.

The Ministry of Justice is considering selling off land in Maghull which was to be the site of a new prison, Labour MP Bill Esterson has discovered this week.

Bill recently called on Tory Lord Chancellor Kenneth Clarke to reveal what the government had planned for the site off School Lane.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Bill Esterson asked Kenneth Clarke: "The Government cancelled the building of the Maghull prison after work had already started. Will the Lord Chancellor take this opportunity to tell my constituents what plans he has for the site, to allay their concerns about the Maghull prison site and nearby greenfield projects, which developers are eyeing up?”

Bill this week received a written response from the Ministry of Justice to his query in which the government confirms that the site could be sold off.

Bill said: "I have now had confirmation that the Ministry of Justice is looking at every opportunity to release that value from surplus assets and will therefore be considering the disposal of the Maghull site.

"No decision has been made yet and they are apparently in dialogue with the local authority.

"I will enquire about what type of negotiations are taking place and have had assurances from the Minister that he will write to me again when the future of the site becomes clearer. Whatever happens I hope that concerns and needs of local people are seriously taken on board.”

Maghull Labour Action Team's Lynn Gatherer said there was a growing number of people in Maghull who are concerned about what the government has planned for the site.

Lynn said: "There has been lots of speculation, but the whole of Maghull now just deserves answers on this issue.

"Thanks to Bill Esterson, we now know that the Ministry of Justice is considering selling the land, but the whole community needs to know who will buy it and what plans they have.

"While retail and residential uses have been been suggested, there has been no confirmation either way.

"Obviously the demand for housing in East Sefton is high and the Core Strategy and the future of the greenbelt is a major concern given the Tory-Lib Dem government's relaxation of the planning laws.

"We in the the Maghull Labour Action Team will continue to work with our borough councillors and our Labour MP to ensure that the voices of the people of Maghull are heard on whatever plans there are for the future of our community."

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