Emergency motion tabled at South Gloucestershire Council about the future of Ashfield YOI
AN emergency vote will be held this week by South Gloucestershire councillors on plans to convert Pucklechurch’s Ashfield Young Offenders Institution into an adult sex offenders prison.
Boyd Valley councillors Steve Reade and Ben Stokes, who represent Pucklechurch, have tabled a motion for the full council meeting in Kingswood tomorrow night.
In a joint statement, Cllrs Reade and Stokes said: “This is an opportunity for South Gloucestershire Council to show that it’s on the side of local people and to do what it can to apply pressure onto the National Offender Management Service to listen to the concerns and anxieties of both residents and the council.
“Events are moving very quickly with the National Offender Management Service already in negotiations Serco Group plc, the contractors who manage and operate the establishment, about the change of use. This means we have a small window of opportunity to try and influence things.
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“The Ashfield facility is an important local employer and so we want the coalition Government to revisit their plans and make changes that are acceptable to the local community.”
The motion is for the council to agree that it:
• Believes that Her Majesty’s Prison and Young Offender Institute Ashfield in Pucklechurch is an important local employer
• Expresses its serious concern about the way in which the recently-announced plans to convert the Ashfield facility into an adult male Category C sex offenders prison has been handled by the National Offender Management Service
• Expresses its dismay that such a potentially controversial change was announced without any public consultation and has left local residents feeling anxious
• Expresses concern that this change has been announced without any regard to the safeguarding implications for this council
• Expresses its dismay that there is not to be public consultation on the plans and that contractual negotiations between the National Offender Management Service and Serco Plc, as the owner and operator of the facility, are on-going
• Resolves to urge the Coalition Government to urgently revisit their plans for Ashfield and approach any future suggested changes in a more open and transparent manner
As previously reported, the Government has decided to change the nature of Ashfield to deal with inefficiencies in young offender provision across the country. It is expected to close in its current form -housing 15-18-year-old boys – within the next month.