Tyne & Wear

Former Medomsley detention centre in £25m housing plan

Metal gates at Medomsley detention centre
Image caption The detention centre closed in 1988

The site of a former detention centre where hundred of inmates were abused could be turned into a £25m housing estate.

The unit in Medomsley, which closed in 1988, held offenders aged between 17 and 21 who had committed relatively minor crimes.

Three of the centre's officers were jailed in April for abusing inmates in the 1970s and 80s.

Homes England wants to build 150 properties on the 13 hectare site.

The government housing agency, which is working with Durham County Council, unveiled the plans for Medomsley Edge at a public meeting earlier at Medomsley Methodist Church Hall.

One former detention centre inmate, Peter Toole, described the proposal as "disgusting".

'Bulldoze it'

The facility later became Hassockfield Secure Training Centre, which closed in 2015 with the loss of about 150 jobs.

Councillor Alan Shield said he hoped the estate would "encourage people to move in to the area."

Phil Jones, senior development manager for Homes England, said: "Medomsley is well located for local people commuting to Durham and Newcastle and the proposals for Medomsley Edge will help to create much needed, high quality homes in an area where they want to live."

Image caption The plans are for 150 homes on the site, with the remaining land becoming public open space

But Mr Toole said the best course would be to get rid of the site completely.

"Bulldoze it, flatten it, but turn it into a nice big field with a memorial to the lads that have suffered and leave it at that."

An outline planning application for the housing scheme is to be submitted by mid-summer.

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