Super prison planned for Lancashire
A giant new prison, housing up to 1,715 inmates, is being planned next to Wymott and Garth jails near Leyland.
The Government project in Ulnes Walton is expected to create between 600 and 700 permanent jobs if it gets council approval.
And South Ribble MP Katherine Fletcher today called on local residents to have their say on the scheme, which is part of a £4bn prisons programme to tackle overcrowding in the UK's jails.
The public will have until July 19 to take part in a consultation process before plans are finalised. And letters are being sent out by the Ministry of Justice this week explaining the project and inviting comments.
"It’s so important that the Ministry of Justice hears the views and feedback of our local communities, businesses and public services before any formal decisions are taken, so I am calling on you to please complete the online survey or submit your views in writing,” said the MP.
“The proposals include references to traffic, maintaining trees, the environment and local habitats - all things which have already been raised with me as concerns.
"The consultation also sets out plans to make sure there are local jobs created during construction and ongoing operations of the prison.”
If built, the new jail on land adjacent to Wymott and Garth will bring the prison population in Ulnes Walton to more than 3,500 men. It is envisaged it will be open by 2025.
In its letter to locals, the Ministry of Justice explained the thinking behind a third prison on the site, saying it had reviewed a number of locations across the country and had decided that the land next to HMP Garth and HMP Wymott "would be an appropriate location."
The Government is looking to build four new prisons, as well as extending or modernising a number of existing ones, to provide 18,000 extra places to ease congestion within the system.
The new establishment will be a Category C prison, catering for low risk inmates who are not thought likely to abscond.
It will have seven X-shaped house blocks, each with 240 prisoners over four floors. The majority of the rooms will be single cells.
The scheme will mean having to relocate the Wymott Bowling Club used by the local community. A new green and clubhouse will be built nearby.
Following the consultation process the plans will be submitted to South Ribble Council for approval and, if passed, work should start in 2022/23.
Alex Chalk MP, Minster of State for Prisons and Probation, said: "Our plans, if successful, would bring many benefits to the local community, such as hundreds of jobs during construction, careers within the prison sector and an increased spend in local businesses.
"We believe that, following detailed feasibility work, land next to HMP Garth and HMP Wymott is a good location for one of these (new) prisons.
"Prisoner numbers change over time, which is why we must have robust plans in place to make sure we will always have enough places available.
"We expect there will be an increase in demand for prison places as the activity of our courts system continues to ramp up to full operating capacity following the national restrictions due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
"The increasing numbers of police, in line with the Prime Minister’s commitment to recruit 20,000 additional officers, is also likely to contribute to a higher prison population, and we therefore believe that creating 18,000 additional prison places will help to mitigate pressure on prison places in England and Wales in the coming years."
To take part in the public consultation process, go to: https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/proposed-new-prison-in-chorley/