Protesters launch campaign against Wrexham prison

Reporter:

Garth ApThomas and Kate Forrester

FURIOUS residents are trying to block a prison being built in Wrexham, saying it will be a blight on the town.

More than 30 protesters demonstrated at the old Firestone site on Wrexham Industrial Estate, one of two sites earmarked for the multi-million pound prison, on Saturday.

Organiser Georgina Adams, of Pentre Maelor, said they had received community-wide support for their protest.

She told the Leader: “It went really well and I hope we got our message across.

“At least now we know we haven’t just sat there and done nothing – we can say we have done something about it.”

She warned there would be devastating consequences for Wrexham if the jail got the go-ahead.

Georgina added: “People have spent years paying off their mortgages, and many are still paying for their family home.

“If the prison was placed here the house prices would drop dramatically.

“Parents would be scared to let their children go out to play and industries wouldn’t invest here. It won’t just affect the residents of Pentre Maelor, it will affect us all.

How are people supposed to feel safe if there is a prison on their doorstep?

“The only benefit to come for Wrexham would be the slight possibility of contracting and building jobs. But there are so many negatives against the proposals which outweigh that.”

She said one of the main reasons why she decided to campaign against the proposals was her six-month-old daughter Eviee.

Georgina said: “Along with many of my friends I have grown up in the area, and can safely say that it holds a lot of dear childhood memories.

“Personally, I would like Pentre Maelor to have the same effect for my little girl, and for generations to come. Who wants their children growing up overlooking a prison?”

Deputy council leader Bob Dutton said a prison would bring huge economic benefits to the town, but stressed no decision had yet been taken on a site – or, indeed, whether a jail would actually be built in the town at all.

He added: “As far as the council is concerned, at the present time we have decided to support the concept of a prison in Wrexham. But we are not aware of a decision on any particular site, and also it would be subject to planning permission.

“From a personal point of view I think a prison would be beneficial for job opportunities and beneficial for the local economy. That represents the view of most of the councillors in Wrexham county borough.

“However, there has been no decision as to whether there will be one in North Wales and no decision by the Ministry of Justice as to whether Wrexham or anywhere in North Wales is suitable.”

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