Page last updated at 06:58 GMT, Friday, 6 February 2009

Q&A: The new north Wales prison

FACTFILE - Caernarfon
Ferodo site currently
LOCATION: A487, Bangor Road, Griffiths Crossing, nr Caernarfon, Gwynedd
SITE: Former brake-lining factory made famous by a three-year industrial dispute
PROPOSAL: Prison for up to 1,000 inmates
SITE OWNER: Developers Bluefield Caernarfon Ltd
ARGUMENTS FOR: Will being jobs; north Wales has no prison and it will ease travel times for inmates' families and solicitors
AGAINST: Possible access difficulties and some environmental issues

When will the prison be built?

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) says no decision has been taken: "We have yet to conduct negotiations with the owners with the site or submit an application for outline planning permission with the planning authorities."

What type of prison will it be?

No final decision has been made.

How big will the prison be?

The ministry says the site is big enough for a 1,000 place facility: "There is currently an estimated total shortfall of around 800 places in North Wales, but requirements may change in the future."

What about women prisoners?

"The needs of women prisoners in Wales are being considered in the light of the recommendations made by Baroness Corston in her report," responds MoJ.

What about Young offenders?

The MoJ says the needs of the young offender population will be considered "when making any decisions about the proposed new prison".

How much will it cost?

"It is too early to estimate a final total figure," states the MoJ.

What other prison developments are taking place in Wales?

The MoJ says it intends providing an addition 300 prison places as part of an expansion scheme at HMP Parc, at Bridgend in south Wales.

Site history

It is estimated that a new prison on the site of a former brake factory near Caernarfon will create 1,000 permanent jobs and be worth 17m a year to the local economy.

But why has this location won the bid to build Wales' latest prison, and what sort of prison will it be?

The site itself has had a troubled past, famous for one of the longest industrial disputes in British history.

Friction Dynamex sign
A dispute at the factory sparked a three-year long picket

Built in the 1960s, the Ferodo factory on the banks of the Menai Strait offered job opportunities to hundreds of men out of work as the slate quarries closed down.

At the height of its production of brake pads for the car industry, a 1,000 people worked at the Griffiths Crossing site. By the mid 1990s, that workforce had shrunk to little more than 100.

The company changed hands and was renamed Friction Dynamex. Rstructuring sparked a strike from TGWU members, then a lock-out and dismissal of those staff, and the start of a three year long picket outside the factory gates.

In 2002, those workers won a case for unfair dismissal, and the company went into administration. Despite being reborn again under another name, the factory continued to struggle, and site was finally put up for sale in 2005.

It was identified in the summer of 2008 as a potential location for a new Welsh prison, and unlike other sites across Wales, it received support from much of the local population, the council, MPs and assembly members.

The North Wales Police Chief Constable, Richard Brunstrom, described plans for a north Wales prison as being backed by "almost a welcoming committee".

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