Ulnes Walton Super prison: MP pledges to make residents' concerns heard

Plans for a new 1,700 inmate "super prison" next door to Wymott and Garth jails in the Lancashire countryside could still go ahead despite being met with rejection last year.

By Emma Downey
Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 3:45 pm

The proposal was rejected by Chorley Council Planning Committee in December 2021, but an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate has since been launched by the Ministry of Justice.

After meeting with locals and community action groups, Katherine Fletcher MP has launched her own survey to get an overview of residents’ views.

She will be writing to the Planning Inspectorate ahead of the evidence submission deadline on Monday, May 9, to raise the views of local residents.

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MP Katherine Fletcher at the proposed prison site

She said: “I’ve launched a survey so I can get an overview of what local residents think about the proposal for the third prison.

"With your help, I will be able to pass these on to the planning inspectorate before the deadline to ensure this issue is properly assessed and your concerns are heard.”

The Ministry of Justice had earmarked the village near Leyland as a site for one of four state-of-the-art jails in a £4bn prisons programme to tackle overcrowding.

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Plan for 'super prison' on Chorley and Leyland border is rejected
Campaigners pictured last year against the proposed new prison close to the existing Garth and Wymott jails

But angry locals, who already claim to be prisoners in their own homes due to the traffic generated by Wymott and Garth, say the rural area cannot possibly cope with a third.

Last June when the proposal was announced villagers reacted with outrage, with some saying they would be "prisoners in their own homes".

Locals in and around Ulnes Walton then mounted a campaign against the government proposal.

Chorley Council planning officers had recommended that permission be granted for the 1,700 inmate facility, which would have seen the combined prison population in the locality outstrip the number of residents living in the village.

A bird's-eye view of the potential prison plans

However, members of the authority’s planning committee dismissed the application by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) - citing concerns over damage to the greenbelt, road safety and the impact of increased traffic on those living nearby.

If built, the new jail on land adjacent to Wymott and Garth will bring the prison population in Ulnes Walton to almost 4,000. Work could start in 2022/3 and it is envisaged it will be open by 2025.

The survey can be accessed HERE.