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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 January 2007, 11:47 GMT
Worry over make-shift prison plan
The RAF base is earmarked as a possible site for a prison
An RAF base that was closed recently by the Ministry of Defence may be used as a make-shift prison.

Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk, has been told by the Home Office RAF Coltishall in his constituency is being considered as a site to take prisoners.

The Sergeants' Mess on the former base could be fenced off and converted to help relieve prison overcrowding.

A decision is expected next week. The MP and local people believe the plan would have a severe impact on the area.

Planning applications

"The whole thing smacks of total chaos and confusion.

"Before Christmas the base was going to be an immigration centre because of the chaos surrounding the government's handling of illegal immigrants.

"Now we are told it could be a temporary prison because of overcrowding and there's nowhere to put all who have been sentenced," Mr Lamb said.

John harding from Coltishall parish council said: "The main concern of local people is security in this low crime area.

"Also we're in the heart of the Norfolk Broads and visitors think of the village as a tourist area.

"What kind of image do you think that a prison is going to give?"

A Home Office spokesman told BBC News: "We're in negotiations over prison ships and we're in discussions with the Ministry of Defence about possible locations we can use.

"We are looking at a number of sites and considering all available options. Last week we confirmed we are going to open HMP Kennett in Liverpool."

The spokesman also indicated that a number of speculative planning applications were being put forward as part of this process.

Flypasts mark RAF base's closure
01 Apr 06 |  Norfolk
Study of RAF base closure impact
21 Feb 05 |  Norfolk
After the MoD leaves town
22 Jul 04 |  UK


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