Page last updated at 14:15 GMT, Wednesday, 6 August 2008 15:15 UK

Location shortlist for new jail

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Four sites have been shortlisted as a potential location for the new prison

Four sites in north and south Wales have been announced as the shortlist for the location for a new prison.

Prisons minister David Hanson made the announcement, which aims to deal with an estimated shortfall of 1,300 jail places in Wales.

The chosen sites are Cwmbran's police training centre, a brownfield site east of Merthyr, Wrexham's former Firestone and Caernarfon's old Ferodo land.

A three-month consultation period on the shortlisted areas is to be held.

The North Wales Criminal Justice Board has previously claimed a prison could create 1,000 jobs and bring 17m investment into the area.

The Ministry of Justice admitted there was an overall shortage of prison places in north Wales of around 800, and in the south it is 500.

Nearly 200 places for women prisoners are also required within these totals.

Expansion at HMP Parc, Bridgend will provide 330 additional prison places which will help to address the shortfall of male prison places in south Wales, the Ministry of Justice said.

Long term, it wants to provide an additional 1,000 prison places in Wales, increasing to around 1,700 in future years.

Any comments on the proposed sites must be made by 31 October.

The final decision on which site will be used will be made when all the feedback has been considered, said the Ministry of Justice.

PRISON SHORTLIST
The shortlisted locations in Cwmbran, Merthyr, Caernarfon and Wrexham
1 Cwmbran: Ex-Centrex site, used for police training; NOMS-owned 39 acres. Potential for jail for 1,500 inmates
2 Merthyr: Goatmill Rd, Whitelands; Council-owned, 29 acres next to housing estate. Potential for 900 inmates
3 Caernarfon: Old Dynamex/Ferodo factory site; privately-owned, 27 acres, some environmental issues. Potential for 600-900 inmates
4 Wrexham: Old Firestone factory site; Assembly government-owned, 108-acres empty since 1992 but newts need relocating. Potential for "titan" jail for 2,500 inmates
Source: Ministry of Justice

The proposed site will then be subject to planning permission.

There is already opposition to any prison in Cwmbran.

Torfaen councillor Bob Wellington says he would vigorously oppose a prison at Cwmbran because he believes the site is "inappropriate".

He said a prison would jeopardise multi-million pound plans to regenerate the nearby town centre.

However, Gwynedd council leader Dyfed Edwards said he was pleased two areas from north Wales had been shortlisted.

"There is a clear case for a new prison that can cater for inmates from north Wales and their families," he said.

"As a council, we will be looking to discuss the announcement and its implications with the Ministry of Justice as well as Hywel Williams MP and other local representatives at the earliest possible opportunity."

Wrexham MP Ian Lucas said the site proposed for the town was too far from the main court centre in Caernarfon, would not cut transport times for those currently travelling from north west Wales to north west England, and had poor transport links.

Merthyr council leader Jeff Edwards confirmed the council had been approached by the Home Office as a possible location for a jail but did not make any further comment on the proposal.




SEE ALSO
'Vigorous debate' call on prison
21 Feb 08 |  North West Wales
Prison's 17m economy boost claim
07 Nov 07 |  North West Wales
Council adds to calls for prison
30 Oct 07 |  North West Wales

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