HC Deb 26 January 1999 vol 324 c139
30. Mr. Ben Bradshaw (Exeter)

What progress has been made on securing funding for the proposed new accommodation for the court service in Exeter. [65857]

The Minister of State, Lord Chancellors Department (Mr. Geoffrey Hoon)

The Government have accepted my hon. Friends representations about Exeter requiring new courtroom accommodation. It will be acquired through a private-public partnership, and we expect bids to be invited by July.

Mr. Bradshaw

I am extremely pleased by that reply and grateful to my hon. Friend. There has been much local concern about delay in the realisation of the scheme, so can my hon. Friend go a little further by publishing a formal timetable for the advertisement and for the start of work? Might he also re-examine the reasons given for the magistrates court decision not to relocate into the new complex, as many people—including me—believe that those reasons are fallacious?

Mr. Hoon

My hon. Friend has argued assiduously, effectively and consistently for a new Crown court in Exeter. Now that the Government have accepted his case, it is important to make progress with all possible speed. However, accommodation for the magistrates court is a matter for the local magistrates court committee.