ANGRY residents have voiced their stern opposition to a proposed 2,000 inmate ‘super prison’ to be built in Wrexham.
Tempers frayed as about 40 residents from the Pentre Maelor estate gathered at Abenbury Community Centre last night to grill Ministry of Justice representatives on plans for the £250 million facility.
The estate sits directly opposite the former Firestone site on Wrexham Industrial Estate, which was recently announced as the location for the prison.
And with work expected to start as early as next summer, subject to planning permission, residents raised a number of fears ranging from the possibility of prisoners escaping to the impact on house prices.
Last week the Leader reported how the prison would be built to category B standard, despite being designated for category C prisoners.
Category C inmates are those who cannot be trusted in open conditions but are unlikely to try to escape.
But while he said the prison would initially be for category C prisoners, Ministry of Justice programme manager Neil Caves, who will be responsible for delivering the prison, said he could not rule out the possibility of it being upgraded to category B at a later date.
Mr Caves said: “I can’t say that it will never be category B. My brief is to build a prison to house category C inmates.
“But in building a prison we have to make sure we have flexibility for the future.”
He added he was not sure whether a consultation would be needed with the community would be necessary for it to be upgraded to category B, but that it would need to be signed off by the Secretary of State.
Pentre Maelor resident Jonathon Williams spoke out strongly against the prison proposals.
He said: “It seems like as long as the big businesses say yes, the little man on the street doesn’t matter.
“The first we knew about it was when we received a letter the day after it went in the press.
“It all seems like it’s been a little bit underhand.”