Next month the Wrexham Council Planning Committee will meet to discuss outline proposals for the Wrexham ‘Super Prison’.
Wrexham Council chiefs are recommending proposals for the ‘Super Prison’ are granted, when they meet to discuss proposals on January 6th.
If the planning application is successful, the prison will house approximately 2,100 adult males with building work starting in the summer.
The report itself is quite detailed and states the prison will comprise of a ”secure compound” that “will be occupied by three prison accommodate buildings together with eight buildings that will be used for specific purposes”. These include: a kitchen, health centre, sports centre, staff training; reception, education and faith training. There would also be a multi use game centre in the secure compound.
The prison would be built to hold Category C inmates, but its perimeter fence, entry building and house blocks will be built to Category B standards. The decision to build the prison to Category B standards is listed in the report as being: “consistent with other recently constructed prisons and provides long term flexibility for the Ministry of Justice should there be a change in demand for price places over time.”
The report states that “The prison itself represents a £248 million investment in Wrexham on a site located in one of the main areas of employment development in the County Borough.” It is claimed that around 413 jobs will be created for local people.
Opinions on Wrexham winning the Super Prison bid have been mixed since the announcement was made, with some thinking it will benefit the town, and others voicing concern about potential issues that could come as a result of it.
The report details concerns from Adenbury Community Council and Marchwiel Community Council to name a few. Concerns that have been raised include insufficent consultation with the community, traffic issues, noise pollution, the impact inmates, visitors etc could have on local health services and possible ecological problems.
Also despite the report stating that it is hoped around 413 jobs will be available for local people, a concern raised by Adenbury Community Council says: ”There are no explanations or mechanisms outlined as to how the local jobs opportunities will be promoted and training opportunities made available. The Prison has been “sold “to local people because of the benefit that the application will bring to the local area and it is important that these benefits are actually available to the local residents. There is insufficient detail to convince the Council that there will be a robust method or indeed any jobs for local people.”
Interestingly the report then goes on to say: “Should the Committee choose to ignore the strongly held views of the local people then the Council REQUIRE the Committee to set such conditions to address these concerns and to ensure the Community is involved and consulted on the details of the elements where we have expressed our concerns”.
Wrexham council’s Head of Community Wellbeing & Development, Lawrence Isted, concludes the report by saying: “These proposals will deliver significant investment in a site on the Wrexham Industrial Estate that has been vacant for a lengthy period of time and deliver much needed additional employment opportunities in the area.
“The development will inevitably result in ecological, highways, short term noise and visual impacts. However I am satisfied that on balance, the impacts will not be significantly harmful and/or can be adequately mitigated and that the development accords with both national and local planning policies.”
You can read the full report on the Council website here, from page 23 onwards…