COUNCILLORS have backed a campaign calling for place names to be removed from Wrexham’s prison.
Bala Town Council is supporting a petition to have one of the wings at Wrexham’s HMP Berwyn renamed.
The first wing to open at the prison was named after the Gwynedd town.
A greeting in the wing states: “Welcome Croeso i Bala” with a picture of Llyn Tegid and the Aran.
Bala Town Council said it was not consulted and county councillor Dilwyn Morgan was also unaware of it.
Last week he said: “Naming it Berwyn was quite odd in the first place but calling the wing that has already been opened ‘Bala’ sits very uncomfortably with me.”
The petition was circulated among the Urdd Eisteddfod audience in Bala earlier this month and by the end of the day more than 100 names had been collected.
More than 400 people have now signed the petition as it gathers momentum.
Llinos Jones-Williams, who started the petition, said: “As a former pupil at Ysgol y Berwyn, Y Bala, it was heartbreaking to see it called HM Prison Berwyn in the first place but to name a wing after our town is a disgrace that’s even more hurtful.
“And to rub more salt into the wound it has a large sign in the reception area with ‘Welcome to Bala’ and a lovely photo of the lake.”
“We were not informed of this until the building opened and to my knowledge no-one was consulted to see if we, local Bala people, were happy with the decision.”
Other community leaders have backed the petition.
Andrew Roberts, head of Ysgol y Berwyn, said: “Without any consultation I do not think it fair that a wing of Berwyn Prison is being associated with a town 30 miles away that is completely unassociated with the prison.”
The Rev Huw Dylan Jones, of Llangwm, said: “There was no reason to call it Berwyn prison in the first place because it has no connection with the Berwyn Mountains. And to then call a wing Bala is disrespectful and an insult to the town – names associated with Wrexham are better suited to the place.”
In response to the petition, Mark Greenhaf, deputy prison governor, said: “HMP Berwyn is a prison that serves men from the whole of North Wales and we wanted to reflect the culture of the area across all of the prison.
“The name Berwyn was chosen by the public and our staff, many of whom have strong connections to the North Wales area, then picked the names of the houses.”
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