Page last updated at 12:41 GMT, Wednesday, 4 June 2008 13:41 UK

Peterhead chosen for 'super-jail'

The prison will replace Aberdeen and Peterhead jails

A new "super-jail" in the north east will be built on the site of the existing prison at Peterhead.

HMP Grampian will hold about 500 inmates - roughly the current combined capacity of the ageing Victorian-era prisons in Peterhead and Aberdeen.

Peterhead currently caters exclusively for sex offenders, while Craiginches in Aberdeen is among the most overcrowded prisons in Scotland.

HMP Grampian will replace the two older jails.

The proposed development will be located on land at the east of HMP Peterhead, which currently houses some prisoner activity facilities.

The Scottish Prison Service said construction of the new prison may reduce the capacity of the existing jail and some prisoners may have to be moved.

The announcement was made by Mike Ewart, chief executive of the SPS.

I still believe there is a need for Aberdeen to have a prison of its own in order to retain the prison place capacity
Anne Begg MP

He said the service had conducted an assessment of potential sites within the Peterhead area.

"This exercise has now been completed and concluded that the preferred site for HMP Grampian is on the site of the existing HMP Peterhead," he said.

"SPS will seek planning permission from Aberdeenshire Council for the proposed development.

"Subject to receipt of planning consent, SPS will award a contract for the construction of the proposed HMP Grampian which will be run by the Scottish Prison Service."

Local people had campaigned for the publicly-run prison to be built at Peterhead.

The Scottish Government has pledged to ensure it is a "world-class" facility.

Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South, said she was disappointed about the plans to close Craiginches Prison and the existing jail at Peterhead.

"While I am supportive of the new prison in Peterhead, I still believe there is a need for Aberdeen to have a prison of its own in order to retain the prison place capacity and for the short-term holding of remand prisoners close to their court appearances," she said.

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