A brand new prison with a capacity to hold almost 2,000 inmates could be built in Lancashire.
As part of the Government’s ‘New Prisons Programme’ which is aiming to create an additional 18,000 prison places by 2025, a new 1,715 capacity institution is being earmarked for land next to HMP Garth and HMP Wymott in Chorley
Minister of state for prisons and probabtion, Alex Chalk MP said the Category C prison, 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.
The Government’s ‘New Prisons Programme’, has committed over £4billion to make significant progress in creating 18,000 additional prison places across the prison estate by the mid-2020s, through a combination of new builds, as well as extending, refurbishing and maintaining other prisons.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) have been looking at where best they can develop new prisons, and where there is likely to be most demand for prison places.
And following detailed feasibility work, it was determined that land next to HMP Garth and HMP Wymott would be a good location for one of these prisons.
Alex Chalk MP said: “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 the MoJ and HMPPS 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.
Mr Chalk added: “We haven’t yet decided whether to build a prison here and we haven’t applied for planning permission.
“If we do go ahead, we’ll apply for planning permission later this year.
“We would anticipate a planning decision from the council in early 2022.
“If we got planning permission, we’d hope to start construction in 2022/23.
“We would intend for the new prison to open in 2025.”
The Government state that whenever they build a new prison they aim to provide a long-lasting benefit to the local area.
Mr Chalk continued: “We work closely with the local Job Centre to ensure local people have opportunities for jobs and training.
“We work with local schools and charities to give back to the community, such as providing replacement fencing, new outdoor facilities for local schools and providing visits and learning sessions to school children about sustainable and green projects.”
Images supplied by the Government shows plans for seven prison blocks and support buildings which would be sited next to HMP Garth and HMP Wymott.
Other images show the landscape plan, which includes plants and green spaces, which will help to protect nearby wildlife and wild plants.
A spokesperson for the MoJ said: “These prison places will be decent, safe and secure.
“They’ll help us to modernise prisons in England and Wales in the next few years.
“About 10,000 of these places will be in the six new prisons we’re building.
“The other places will come from extending some prisons and refurbishing others.
“We also need to have enough of the right kind of prison places.
“This means we need enough places in each security category so we can hold prisoners securely and keep the public safe.
“We also need to have enough training places and resettlement places so men can get the help they need to stop them re-offending after release.
“We need to build two of the four new prisons in the north of England.
“These will help make sure that prisoners from the north can be in a prison nearer to home.
“We already have planning permission for a new prison at Full Sutton in Yorkshire and we need another in the north west.
“We hope to build a category C resettlement prison in Chorley.
“It will have seven separate prison blocks, with each block holding around 240 prisoners.
“The prison blocks will have four floors, with 60 prisoners on each.
“The prison will have seven separate house blocks (or living accommodation) with overall capacity of the prison being 1,715.”
The prison will also have some support buildings, including a reception area, kitchens, workshops, a visits hall and offices and will range from one floor high to four floors high.
Plans also include a few dog kennels, which will only be used in the daytime for when prison dogs are on site.
The dogs go home with their handlers each night.
There will also be some polytunnels for gardening, and an outdoor family area that can be used by visitors and prisoners during visiting times.
The prison will have about 500 parking spaces for staff and visitors and will be surrounded by secure fencing and a road for security patrols.