A COUNCILLOR has called for the 'horrific past' of the Medomsley Detention Centre to be 'consigned to history'.

Liberal Democrat councillor Consett and Blackhill, Kathryn Rooney, has criticised the Tory Government for forcing through an "unpopular immigrant detention centre on a site infamous for physical and sexual abuse of young inmates".

She spoke out as the Government pushes ahead with plans for an immigration detention centre for woman at the former Hassockfield Detention Centre in Medomsley, County Durham.

The Northern Echo: Medomsley Detention CentreMedomsley Detention Centre

The site has been dogged by controversy. In recent years a major investigation into historic abuse prompted allegations of sexual and physical assaults from hundreds of men detained as youngsters in what was the Medomsley Detention Centre in the 70s and 80s.

The centre was demolished and was replaced by Hassockfield Secure Training Centre, which closed in 2015 with the loss of about 150 jobs.

Cll Kathryn Rooney said: “I am shocked to see job adverts for the Tory immigrant detention centre land so soon despite the ongoing campaign against the decision.

“The Tories are clearly out of touch with public opinion if they think Consett needs an immigrant jail more than housing for families – but they wouldn’t know, with there being no public consultation.

“Hassockfield holds so many bad memories for our town. Forcing this through without any regard for local opinion is a national scandal.

“It is senseless to transport female immigrants from across the country to be held on the edge of the North Pennines, only for the minority who end up being deported to be flown out of London airports.

“It would be far better for the money to be spent stopping people entering the country illegally in the first place.

“The building needs demolished so the horrific past of Hassockfield can be consigned to history."

North West Durham MP Richard Holden has defended proposals saying it was a "sensible use of taxpayers money".

Minister for Immigration Compliance Chris Philp said previously: “The public rightly expects us to maintain a robust immigration system, and immigration detention plays a crucial role in this.

“Plans for the Immigration Removal Centre are undergoing finalisation and we will continue to engage over the coming months.We expect the centre will create approximately 200 local jobs.”