New £300 million jail is set to be built next to Gartree Prison near Harborough

The proposed new jail would house about 1,700 inmates

Monday, 28th June 2021, 7:50 pm
A huge new £300 million jail is set to be built next to Gartree Prison near Market Harborough.

A huge new £300 million jail is set to be built next to Gartree Prison near Market Harborough.

The proposed new jail – which would house about 1,700 inmates – will be the “greenest” yet built in England if it gets the go-ahead.

The massive blueprint will create up to 700 new jobs and plough about £75 million into the local economy if it’s backed by Harborough council, the district’s planning authority.

The area where the new prison could be built on the outskirts of Market Harborough. Photo by Andrew Carpenter.

The Ministry of Justice is now gearing up to launch a wide-ranging new public consultation exercise with residents in Gartree stunned by the bombshell new development.

The planned new jail would be a Category B training prison, locking up long-term and high-security convicts – and will be built over the next four years.

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: “The new prison proposal is part of the MoJ’s New Prison Programme.

“The prison would be the greenest prison built so far and follow a new design that helps aid rehabilitation of offenders, helping make our communities safer.”

She added: “The new prison would also create over 600 permanent jobs in the local area once operational and hundreds of local jobs during construction.

“We want to hear the views of the local community before we consider submitting a planning application.”

The current high-security Gartree Prison is seriously starting to show its age as it dates back to 1965 – and it houses about 630 prisoners.

Today Cllr Paul Bremner, who represents Gartree as Harborough district councillor for Lubenham, told the Harborough Mail: “This is a massive new issue for people living in Gartree to get their heads round.

“This will be a very substantial new build and a big move for the area.

“It’s certainly a bombshell when you first hear it,” said Cllr Bremner.

“But then you have to consider and realise that it it’s the Government policy to build new prisons and expand the prison estate nationwide.

“I held a special webinar session with the Ministry of Justice on Friday as I try to find out as much as I can about this initiative.

“I understand that it will be built to hold about 1,700 prisoners in seven house blocks.

“It will be run and staffed by 600-700 people – and 50 per cent of them will be prison officers,” said Cllr Bremner.

“The jail will cost about £300 million.

“And 25 per cent of that will be ploughed into our local supply chain – providing an enormous boost to our local economy.

“I am told it will be one of the greenest prisons ever built – like the jail recently completed in Wellingborough.

“The big thing here for me is that the MoJ have to talk to local people in Gartree about this substantial new development.

“Residents in Gartree have to be given every chance to make their views on this known and discover what they think about it.

“I would urge everyone living around the current jail to give their thoughts and opinions on this proposal to the MoJ.

“It’s absolutely vital that they do so,” insisted Cllr Bremner.

“I believe that this site is one of four identified in the East Midlands region for new prisons.

“The MoJ is going to stage a webinar with the chair of Lubenham Parish Council today and have already spoken to Harborough council.

“At the moment there is no suggestion that the MoJ will be applying to build more houses in Gartree to accommodate staff working at the new establishment.

“So we’ll have up to 700 more workers driving in to crew the new jail day in day out.

“And as a result they will clearly have to look at building a new car park,” said Cllr Bremner.

“I understand that the completion date for the new prison if it does get the go-ahead is December 2025.”

The Ministry of Justice is now advising people how they can tell them exactly what they think of their high-impact scheme.

“The Ministry of Justice is seeking the views of residents and businesses on proposed plans for a new prison near Market Harborough.

“Having reviewed a number of sites across the country, we believe that land next to HMP Gartree, near Market Harborough would be an appropriate location for a new prison,” says the MoJ.

“Before we progress with these proposals, we want to engage with you and your local community to ensure your views are considered and to share with you the benefits that a potential new prison will bring to Harborough, such as: creating new and local employment opportunities; offering apprenticeships; upskilling people in construction; and spending locally and with social enterprises.

“You can find out more information by clicking the link to view the consultation document.

“You can send us your views by clicking the online survey link.

“Alternatively, you can join us for a virtual ‘webinar’ consultation session by clicking the links below:

Thursday 15th July – 7pm – 8pmFriday 16th July – 1pm – 2pm”You can give your views online by clicking the MoJ link here: https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/proposed-new-prison-in-market-harborough/consultation/intro/Proposed new prison in Market Harborough: Public Consultation - Page 1 of 4 - Ministry of Justice - Citizen Space