Lack of start date for Wrexham 'super prison' causing concern


Jonathan Grieve

A LACK of clarity surrounding the construction of the Wrexham “super-prison” has been criticised.

For months the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has been saying work will begin on the huge Wrexham Industrial Estate jail “this summer”, but full planning permission is yet to be granted by Wrexham Council for the project.

Despite a contractor being selected, no start date for the massive build has been publicised. The prison will pump million of pounds into the regional economy and provide hundreds of jobs.

But an MoJ spokesman said yesterday there was no update on when construction would start on the prison, to be built on the former-Firestone factory site on the Industrial Estate.

Wrexham MP Ian Lucas said he was “surprised” work has not yet begun to build the prison considering the initial timescale given by the MoJ.

He said: “I can’t understand why there hasn’t been any clear indication as to when building work will begin given the construction contract was announced in May.

“They did say it was going to be summer but I am a bit surprised it hasn’t started yet.

“I haven’t received any information from the MoJ but I will be making enquiries as to when construction will begin.”

Full planning permission is yet to be granted on the £212 million jail, while no decision has been taken as to whether it will be run privately or by the state.

In May, it was revealed a £151 million contract to build the ‘super-prison’ had been awarded to Lend Lease, an international leader in property and infrastructure, who originate from Australia. About 600-700 workers are likely to be employed during the construction phase.

In June, prisons minister Jeremy Wright said the prison is likely to avoid having a direct link with the town in its name.

But he also refused to rule out the possibility of category B prisoners being housed in the prison despite initial plans to only house category C prisoners.

The prison is estimated to create about 1,000 jobs when operational and boost the regional economy by bringing in about £23m per year. It is hoped it will be built
and be fully operational by September 2017.

See full story in the Leader

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