PLANNERS have approved a UK Government service’s bid to move 45 of its workers from Bangor to Caernarfon.
The National Probation Service, part of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, currently has administrative offices at Parc Menai near Bangor.
But in a submission to Gwynedd Council, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) had applied for planning permission to move to a site opposite Caernarfon’s Crown and Magistrates Courts.
Having been approved by council planning officers without the need to go in front of the authority’s planning committee, the MOJ had argued it was “not appropriate” to continue to be based at Parc Menai following the opening of a nearby contact centre for victims of sexual abuse.
The planning application represents a change of use for what was formerly a court building before planning was approved in August 2019 for its conversion to a children’s play centre.
Having now been approved, the move was welcomed by Caernarfon Town Council, with members feeling it would return the building to its intended office use while also bringing jobs and services into the town.
The officers’ report noted it would be used for meetings and interviews with young offenders as well as for the administrative use of 45 members of staff.
No reference as to how they would meet any Covid-19 restrictions or social distancing requirements was made, however.
No mention of Covid-19 restrictions and social distancing was made, however.
“The National Probation Service (NPS) supervise service users living in the community, many of which have been released into the community following a prison sentence,” note the supporting planning documents.
“The aim is to protect the public from the risks posed by service users, support victims of crime, reduce re-offending and help build safer communities
“NPS have been required to relocate the service following the opening of a Contact Centre in Bangor for victims of sexual abuse.
“It was not considered appropriate for the two sites to be located within close proximity to each other given the service users that will attend each site.
“As such there is an urgent need for NPS to relocate.”
Confirming that the move would also mean a move for the 45 members of staff currently based in Bangor, it concluded: “The property will be used for meetings and interviews with young offenders only as well as associated administrative tasks.
“The service that will be provided by the NPS from this site is currently being delivered from their existing premises in Bangor.”