Calls for urgent meeting with Secretary of State about 'super prison' being built in Harborough

The prison has been given the green lightThe prison has been given the green light
The prison has been given the green light
The controversial prison was given the go-ahead in November.

An urgent meeting has been requested with Secretary of State Michael Gove about a super prison being built in Harborough.

Recently, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities gave the green light to build a 1,700 place category B prison, next to the existing Gartree Prison. It will be the largest category B prison in England and cost around £300million.

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Now Harborough District Council leader Phil Knowles has requested a meeting with Mr Gove to discuss the impact of the development on the community. It comes after the council was advised by senior King’s Counsel lawyers that it was unlikely a judicial review would be successful.

In a letter to the Secretary of State, Mr Knowles said: “I feel it important and necessary to ensure that if the prison is now to be built that the local community and our residents receive the very best possible support from the Ministry of Justice and Department of Levelling Up, Housing & Communities.

“At the very least residents expect new local infrastructure, enhanced community benefit and on-going involvement and engagement.

“I am sure that a development of this size and magnitude with its obvious longevity in the district can surely contribute to a range of measures that will make the local place better for the residents from the outset. I look forward to your response and the offer of a meeting, preferably in Harborough so we can show you around the site and you can see first hand the immediate locality and how it would be affected.”

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The controversial prison was approved in November despite a government inspector who held a hearing into the plans recommended they be dismissed.

A letter to Harborough District Council said the Secretary of State ‘agreed with the inspector’s conclusions’ but ‘disagreed with the recommendation’.

When plans for the prison were first submitted Harborough District Council unanimously rejected them. It was then ‘called-in’ by the Government and a public enquiry took place last October.

Since then, a decision has been pushed back multiple times due to concerns over bus routes, prisoner numbers and staffing.