THE biggest prison in Britain – to be built in Wrexham – could get even bigger, according to plans submitted to the council.
A planning application for the £248 million ‘super prison’ was published on Wrexham Council’s website on Tuesday.
Among the 1,919 pages of planning documents submitted were plans for an area of ‘expansion land’ next to the main secure compound on the former Firestone factory site on Wrexham Industrial Estate.
The outline application states that the expansion land “will provide scope to accommodate in the future, if needed, other uses to support the operation of the custodial estate”.
Almost five hectares of extra land would be set aside on top of land earmarked in the application for the 76,370 square metre jail and its associated developments.
The planning document says there is currently no firm proposal to develop on the extra land but Ray Squire, chair of Abenbury Community Council and a vocal opposer of the prison plan, said he thought it was “inevitable” the huge jail would grow to house more prisoners in future years.
“Inevitably, as the population rises, there will be a time when the capacity needs to increase and that day will come here,” he said.
“This is the way all prisons are built worldwide – there’s room for expansion,”
The prison will be built to Category B standards but will hold predominantly Category C prisoners.
The raft of planning details show it will house about 2,100 adult male inmates and 764 employees will be directly employed by the jail.
Prisoners may be allowed to leave the secure compound to maintain the prison grounds or to commute to employment.
Full risk assessments would be conducted first and releases would only be approved by senior staff.
However only 54 per cent of the staff will come from the local area, according to the documents.
This is lower than Wrexham Council’s prediction last month, when council leader Cllr Neil Rogers said between 600 and 700 jobs would go to local people.
The application states that a further 82 jobs should be created in the local area as a knock-on effect of the prison’s location, such as goods delivery and services.
Construction is earmarked to begin in 2014 with the main building work expected to take place in 2015. The first inmates are expected to arrive in March 2017.
It is anticipated that 112 construction jobs will be created on the site with a further 33 temporary jobs created in the wider regional economy during the costruction period.
Cllr Mark Pritchard, lead member for planning and housing for Wrexham Council, said: “I can confirm the planning application has been received and will now go through the formal planning process.
“The application will go to committee at the earliest opportunity.”