THE proposed super-prison to be built in Wrexham is likely to avoid having a direct link with the town in its name, prisons minister Jeremy Wright has said.
Responding to Wrexham MP Ian Lucas, Mr Wright said new prisons “generally avoided” using the name of a town, village or area nearby because of objections from residents.
Abenbury community councillor Ray Squire, who has opposed the decision to grant outline planning permission for the super-prison, said the likelihood of the prison name not including the area was “very good news”.
He said: “We have told Wrexham Council there is no way we want Abenbury in the name of the prison.
“Even though I am still against the prison, I know it is coming.
“I have been assured we will get regular meetings with the prison bosses when it comes. I will keep fighting for the community.”
Cllr Squire added: “I spoke to the governor at HMP Dovegate and he said the community there have about four meetings a year with the prison staff to discuss issues.
“I will be pushing for that in Wrexham. We can still fight for what we want as a community.”
Mr Lucas has called for the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to consult with the community over the decision to name the new prison, to be built on the site of the former Firestone factory on Wrexham Industrial Estate.
The Wrexham MP has written to the MoJ expressing concerns about the impact the naming of the prison could have on the economy in Wrexham.
Mr Lucas said: “I raised these naming concerns with the Ministry of Justice who indicated any name would avoid a direct link with the area the prison would be situated, so it is unlikely the prison will be called HMP Wrexham.
“Ministers also tell me no further decision will be made on naming until they have decided who will operate the prison.
“I have been pushing the Ministry of Justice to say whether the prison will be publicly or privately run and I will continue to call for Ministers to make up their minds.
“Once they do, I believe it is vital the local community is involved in any decision about the prison’s name.”
Last month, the Leader reported a £151 million (plus VAT) contract to build the ‘super-prison’ had been awarded to Lend Lease, an international leader in property and infrastructure with origins in Australia.
With other expenses, the overall project spend is set to be about £212m, substantially under the original £250m estimate.
The proposals include about £50m to be spent with small and medium enterprises (SMEs), £30m to be spent with local businesses and 50 per cent of the entire workforce to be recruited from the local area, including about 100 apprenticeships.
The prison is estimated to create about 1,000 jobs when in operation and is estimated to boost the regional economy by bringing in about £23m per year.
The MoJ has particularly encouraged the use of SMEs and regional businesses during the tendering process, with a special local supplier event to help companies show the potential contractors the services they can offer.
The MoJ confirmed work on the site had already begun on the site, which should be fully completed in 2017.