§ 9. Mr. Atkinson
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has received any recent representations on the provision of local public consultation on the establishment of bail hostels and similar residences for offenders in premises which do not require a change of use.
§ Mr. John Patten
I have received representations about the decision by the Dorset probation committee to purchase The Pines hotel, Cecil road, Boscombe, Bournemouth, for conversion to use as a bail hostel.
§ Mr. Atkinson
The location of bail hostels, which is bound to be a sensitive issue in any locality, will incur greater opposition only where there has been no public consultation. Will my hon. Friend, therefore, consider issuing new guidelines to the probation service pointing out that it is essential to consult the local planning authority as well as the police authority on the location of such residences?
§ Mr. Patten
I shall certainly consider my hon. Friend"s constructive suggestion, but we have 101 probation hostels of this sort in the country and it is a very long time since we have had any complaint at all from local residents about them. However, I appreciate the concern that is felt in his constituency and will certainly consider the very constructive suggestion that he has made.