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Site approval sought for new Probation, Bail and After Care Hostel 7 November 2007

PLANNING approval in principle is being sought to site a new Probation, Bail and After Care Hostel on the outskirts of Douglas (planning application number 07/01978/A).

The Ballakinnish House plot, next door to the former rose grower on New Castletown Road, Braddan, is the Department of Home Affairs’ preferred location.

Home Affairs Minister Martyn Quayle MHK said:

‘It is the Department’s intention to adopt new standards of care provision, similar to the standards which are already in place in England and Wales and likely to be introduced here by the Department of Health and Social Security in the forthcoming years. We need to ensure a new facility is provided to meet the Island’s probation, bail and after care needs for the 21st century. The Ballakinnish House site is in Government’s ownership and would enable us to erect a modular building offering suitable accommodation, with onsite training provision and horticultural activities. The Probation Division has looked at numerous sites around the Island and this is the most suitable one due to its size, central location and excellent transport links to Douglas.’

The new hostel would provide 22 places, including a ‘move on’ flats facility for more independent living, replacing the current nine bed David Gray House and four ‘move on’ flats in central Douglas.

Chief Probation Officer David Sellick commented:

‘This development is supported by the judiciary and Probation Liaison Committee and would enable completely secure, separate units to be provided to both male and female residents. We would expect the replacement hostel to be operational by 2010 as the current premises may no longer be licensable because of modern requirements in terms of accessibility and security.
‘The community round the existing David Gray House has been supportive because it’s been well run and well managed. I don’t think there have ever been any problems. The people who would be in the new hostel would be the same as in the old hostel so no change is envisaged other than hopefully it will have a training facility.’

Mr Quayle added:

‘The matter is now in the hands of planners and the community but I am hopeful it will win their support. It will automatically go before an independent planning inspector to make a recommendation to the Council of Ministers on the proposal because the land is already in Government ownership.’

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