New £300 million jail is poised to get the go-ahead near Harborough

Planning officers at Harborough District Council are now recommending that the plans gets the green light.

By Red Williams
Tuesday, 29th March 2022, 12:49 pm
The site of the proposed 'superjail'

A huge new £300 million jail is poised to get the go-ahead next week to be built near Market Harborough.

The Ministry of Justice wants to build the massive high-security 1,700-inmate male prison by the existing 57-year-old jail at Gartree.

And planning officers at Harborough District Council are now recommending that the controversial plans gets the green light.

The council’s planning committee will scrutinise and debate the Government’s “superjail” scheme at a meeting next Tuesday (April 5).

The proposal is being opposed by parish councils at Great Bowden, Lubenham, Foxton and Gumley as well as leading Harborough district councillors like Phil Knowles.

And 364 objections have been sent to the council amid growing fears over mounting traffic, growing pollution, poor air quality and loud noise.

Activists will be among people speaking at next Tuesday’s meeting as they try to convince councillors to torpedo the giant initiative.

But the council’s planning officers say in their report to the authority: “It is acknowledged that the proposal has caused considerable concern within the local community, and this is evidenced by the level of objection which has been received.

“Notwithstanding this, the need for and benefits of the proposed development are very substantial, any reduced scale scheme would not meet the need as effectively and officers are satisfied that these regional and national benefits very significantly outweigh the harms caused.”

Work is set to start on the prison later this year if the MoJ’s plan is approved and it will be due to open by the end of 2025 or in early 2026.