DEFECTS in accommodation at HMP Berwyn could cause "major challenges" if they're not fixed, a report has warned.

A newly published annual report by the prison's Independent Monitoring Board raises concern about paint, plaster and heating issues at the establishment between the beginning of March 2020 and the end of February 2021.

The Leader reported last year how the board raised the same problems in its 2019-2020 findings.

In the latest report, it states: "The reliability of the building’s heating system is still a cause for concern.

"The system has previously failed, resulting in a lack of heating and hot water for prisoners.

"A backup system is now in place. It should be noted that this backup system applies only to the three main prisoner houses and not the remaining locations on the site.

"However, this does raise concerns as the building is relatively new and the potential for unrest that can be caused by a lack of heating and hot water is high.

"There have been no heating failures this year, but the system is still not working and has yet to be signed off as correct, some four to five years after opening.

"Given that the establishment is newly built, it is disappointing to note that the plaster on the walls was incorrectly prepared and applied. This has resulted in latent paint defects, leading to excessive paint peeling in prisoners’ rooms.

"Some remedial work has taken place. However, it remains an issue for resolution between HMPPS Wales, the Ministry of Justice and the contractor, with assistance from government legal teams.

"The consequences of further delay are that conditions for the prisoners are not to the standard we would expect.

"The Board would wish to be provided with assurance that the wider issues related to the serious paint defects and ineffective heating systems will be resolved in the near future.

"The Board has been informed that contractual negotiations could take some time.

"Not solving, or delaying this work carries major challenges in terms of capacity and the operation of the establishment."

The Ministry of Justice was approached for a comment.