A Parliamentary question tabled by Member of Parliament for Houghton and Sunderland South Bridget Phillipson this week revealed the true state of the government’s planned court rebuilding programme: after 5 years of dither and delay by the Ministry of Justice it is unclear whether Sunderland will get a new Centre for Justice.
Bridget raised the government’s inaction with the Justice Minister this week in Justice Questions, (Tuesday 17th March). In response Justice Minister Shailesh Vara MP made clear that he did not expect action on courts until around 2020.
Since 2010 Sunderland MPs Bridget Phillipson and Julie Elliott have both been campaigning for a new Sunderland Centre for Justice after Houghton magistrates court was closed.
The previous Labour government spent £2 million buying land and drawing up plans for a new Sunderland Justice Centre in Farringdon Row adjacent to the Vaux site.
The current Conservative-led government put the rebuilding of a new court on hold in 2010 and have done nothing ever since.
Speaking after Justice Questions, Bridget Phillipson MP said:
“The government’s court rebuilding programme has come to a complete standstill and Ministers have made no progress in five years.
"Answers to parliamentary questions have revealed the Ministry of Justice have allocated no resources to its rebuilding programme. A plan with no resources is no plan at all.
“A new Centre for Justice is a vital part of plans to regenerate the city centre and to create jobs for our area.
"It’s disappointing the government have failed to act but I will keep up the fight for our area."
Bridget's question and the Minister's answer can be read here.