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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 January 2007, 11:50 GMT
100m prison given the go-ahead
HMP Low Moss
About 350 prisoners are currently housed in Low Moss
Plans to build a new prison in East Dunbartonshire at a cost of more than 100m have been approved by ministers.

The 700-cell jail will be constructed on the site of the existing Low Moss prison, near Bishopbriggs.

East Dunbartonshire Council had turned down the proposal, however the decision was overturned by the Scottish Executive after a public inquiry.

Council Leader John Morrison said the decision would not be greeted with enthusiasm in some parts.

"Others will be satisfied with it as they believed that a new prison would bring economic benefits to the area," he said.

Capacity at the Low Moss site is expected to double and ministers have previously indicated that it could also be built through the private finance initiative.

'Financial contribution'

The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) initially applied to the East Dunbartonshire Council in 2003 to build a new prison on the site of the current facility.

I do not believe this is the right site for a prison
Councillor Margaret McNaughton

The request was rejected by councillors at the time, despite it having the backing of local planners.

A public inquiry was held last year after the SPS appealed against the council decision and the reporter ruled in favour of the new jail.

Scottish Executive ministers have now approved the plan also, on the condition the SPS pays the council 335,000 towards a Bishopbriggs relief road, with the two sides having three months to settle the details.

A Scottish Executive spokeswoman said: "Ministers have advised the SPS that they are minded to grant outline planning permission, subject to conditions.

"The formal grant of permission is, however, dependent on the conclusion of an agreement which will require the SPS to make a financial contribution to East Dunbartonshire Council towards the delivery of the A803 Route Corridor Strategy."

Local councillor Margaret McNaughton said she was disappointed at the decision.

"I do not believe this is the right site for a prison," she said.

"Many years ago, the community was told that the prison was temporary and low security and that it would be removed."

Solidarity MSP Rosemary Byrne said the decision was an "appalling waste of public money".

She said: "We should instead be tackling the causes of crime which lead to imprisonment, chief among which is the failure of our policy on drug treatment."

Another new prison, to be funded by the private sector, is already planned for Addiewell in West Lothian.


SEE ALSO
Jail overcrowding 'being tackled'
01 Nov 06 |  Scotland
Prison numbers hit 'record high'
25 Aug 06 |  Scotland
New private prison gets go-ahead
21 Jun 06 |  Edinburgh and East
Inmates 'still live in WW2 dorms'
15 Jul 04 |  Scotland
Plans put forward for new jail
29 Jul 03 |  Scotland

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