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Courthouse (Colchester)

Volume 407: debated on Tuesday 24 June 2003

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If he will make a statement on progress with proposals for a new courthouse in Colchester. [121038]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs
(Mr. David Lammy)

It is anticipated that a new courthouse in Colchester will be ready for use during 2007. Work is now in progress on the outline business case for the public-private partnership contract.

The Minister will be aware from the detailed briefing that we have been banging on about that matter for four or five years. We have had delay, dither, delay and dither. We have been promised that the private finance initiative will deliver a new courthouse speedily. Will he confirm that another year was wasted because his Department, whatever it was called in those days, spent a year trying to resolve whether Grays Thurrock court should close? That has caused delay across Essex.

The hon. Gentleman will be aware that it is about courthouses in the entirety of Essex. There has been a debate about whether Grays Thurrock court should close but a new, fit-for-the-purpose courthouse in Colchester is on the way by 2007. I think that the people of Colchester will thank the Government for giving them that by 2007.