Page last updated at 13:35 GMT, Thursday, 30 April 2009 14:35 UK

New worries for probation merger

About 350 offenders would visit the site every week

Residents living near the site of a proposed probation centre in Oxford have attacked the idea of housing the county youth offending team there.

Thames Valley Probation Service is hoping to merge four sites into one at Mill Street, to save money.

About 350 offenders could use the new base each week.

It has additional space, but the county council stressed there were no firm plans for youth offending services to be moved there.

Amanda Whiting, who lives on Mill Street and is a member of the West Oxford Community Against Mega Probation Centre (Wocamp) said: "It's absolute madness, there'll be even more people, more traffic and possibly more crime.

"Most people are law-abiding, they've done their time, but some people do re-offend and those people will be walking down our street. Lots of people are considering moving from Mill Street."

'Preferred option'

Over 1,400 people have signed a petition against plans for the probation centre.

Campaigners do not want the site to be in a residential area.

In a statement, the council said: "The Youth Offending Team has held very brief discussions with the Probation Service about its proposed Mill Street centre.

"No detail has been discussed and we are quite some way from making decisions."

BBC Oxford understands the merger between Probation services and the Youth Offending Team at Trajan House on Mill Lane is the council's preferred option.

In a leaked email, the head of the Children, Young People and Families department of the county council is reported to have said it would improve partnership working and save money by sharing meeting rooms and welfare facilities.

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