HC Deb 06 March 2001 vol 364 c144
32. Mr. Bob Russell (Colchester)

When his Department plans to announce the result of the bid for a new courthouse at Colchester. [150768]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (Mr. David Lock)

I commend the hon. Gentleman on his persistence in asking that question, and I can tell him that his waiting is now over. The Essex magistrates courts committee's bid for inclusion in the next phase of the Department's private finance initiative building programme has been successful. That scheme will include the provision of a new magistrates court to replace the existing unsatisfactory facilities at Colchester.

Mr. Russell

I am delighted that persistence has paid off. Could the Minister give some indication of when work will commence, and when the new courthouse will actually be open?

Mr. Lock

It is never enough, is it? I can tell the hon. Gentleman that representatives of the magistrates courts committee and the paying authorities will discuss the procurement process with my officials. The best estimate that I can give him now is that the buildings will be available for use in about four years. I am sure that, if there is a general election in the foreseeable future, he will welcome in the leaflets that he puts around the decision of the Labour Government to invest in his constituency,

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