This morning it was confirmed that Wrexham has won the race to become the home to a £250m super prison development, housing around 2000 prisoners.
Update: A press conference was held at the Guildhall this afternoon confirming that a super prison will be built in Wrexham. It is estimated the prison will create around 1000 jobs, and is hoped 600-700 of those will be given to people local to Wrexham.
A consultation and pre-application will also take place with the people who both live and work on the industrial estate.
At the meeting example plans of what the prison could potentially looked like were provided, with Council Leader Neil Rogers saying they had visited a number of prisons around the country.
Secretary of State for Justice Chris Grayling said in a statement this morning “I can today announce that, following the assessment of several site options and subject to local planning approval, the new prison will be built on the former Firestone site in Wrexham.” You can read the full ministerial statement here on this PDF.
Wrexham Council confirmed the news via its twitter account at 9:47am saying “Wrexham confirmed as site for new prison. Council Leader welcomes news.”
Local MP Ian Lucas has welcomed the boost to local employment such a scheme could bring both in construction and once built. But he has added that the development will also require a local infrastructure boost with improvements to transport and broadband connections as part of the package, and that training for local people should also be prioritised.
He said: “Wrexham has suffered the effects of low growth in recent years as the direct result of Government policies, so a boost to local employment will be welcomed in the town. However, for this development to be truly sustainable, we need to help equip Wrexham with new roads, better rail links and improved skills, and I hope that Minister will meet me as soon as possible to help secure the best possible result for our local economy.”
Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales has said “Great news that new North Wales prison will be located at former Firestone site, Wrexham – creating jobs & boosting wider economy.”
Original story from Wrexham.com from 7:55am below:
It is claimed that the development on Wrexham’s industrial estate could create around 1000 jobs and boost the local economy by around £23m per year.
In June we reported how North Wales had been chosen as the preferred location for a prison, with various sites and locations falling by the wayside cumulating in this mornings news that Wrexham is the final choice of the Ministry Of Justice.
The prison is due to be a Category C. This means its is not an ‘open’ prison, and houses prisoners who are deemed as not being trusted in open conditions but who are unlikely to make a determined escape attempt. Wrexham.com has previously asked specifically if there will be any ‘open’ element to the prison and was told definitively no, however the rehabilitation elements of any prison could see activity outside the walls.
This week Justice Secretary Chris Grayling gave an insight to the type of buildings that could be seen, describing any prison as ‘a series of smaller blocks, so more of a campus prison’.
Local residents voiced concerns in July (report here) with Cllr Ray Squire who lives directly opposite the former Firestone factory site asking that ‘the Council be able to, through the Planning process, ensure the visual, noise and light impact is minimised’.
Initial work could start on site as soon as next summer with the prison possibly fully operational by late 2017.
Although today’s go ahead means that Wrexham has won the race nationally and regionally, the development still has several hurdles to overcome, for example gaining local planning permission.
More as we have it, as a press conference has been called at the Guildhall for the formal announcement…