LEADING figures from North Wales have welcomed proposals to build a prison in the region.
Last month the Ministry of Justice announced the launch of a feasibility study into a jail housing up to 2,000 inmates in either London, the North West or North Wales.
The North Wales Regional Leadership Board, which represents leaders from the six north Wales councils, the Police and Crime Commissioner, North Wales Police, North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority and the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has welcomed the news.
At a recent meeting the board agreed North Wales Police will produce a business case quantifying the potential benefits to community safety from reduced re-offending in North Wales should a prison be located in the area.
Representatives of the board will meet Ministry of Justice officials to establish their thinking with regard to the timescale and the specification for building the new prison.
In Wrexham it is believed the former Firestone factory on Wrexham Industrial Estate could be on the shortlist for the site of the new prison.
Cllr Neil Rogers, leader of Wrexham Council, said: “The Justice Secretary’s announcement is a big opportunity for North Wales.
“However, there will be competition from other regions.
“It is essential we have no preconceptions about a site and work closely with the Ministry of Justice to understand its needs.
“It is early days and the public must understand it is far too early to speculate about specific sites as we have yet to discuss the requirements which will drive site criteria.”
Cllr Hugh Evans, leader of Denbighshire Council, said: “The board has been lobbying for a prison in North Wales for more than five years. It is great news we are on the shortlist of regions to be considered for a new prison.
“Representatives of the Board met the Prisons Minister with the Wales Office in October last year and presented a case for locating a prison in North Wales.
“I believe our efforts have put us in contention for a substantial investment in our region that could create more than a thousand jobs and provide a major £50m annual boost to the whole economy of North Wales.”