Campaigners urge MOJ to rule out appeal after refusal of 'superjail' plans near Harborough

Campaigners are urging the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) to give them an answer on whether they will be appealing against the refusal of the 'superjail' near Market Harborough.

By Phil Hibble
Friday, 8th April 2022, 11:28 am
Updated Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 11:04 am

As we reported on Tuesday night, Harborough District Council's (HDC’s) planning committee unanimously rejected the plan for a new high-security 1,700-inmate male prison by the existing 57-year-old jail at Gartree.

Read More

Read More
Huge cheers as councillors vote against plans for huge £300 million 'superjail' ...

Among the objections raised at the meeting were a lack of infrastructure for the increase in traffic and building on open fields.

Campaigners outside the meeting on Tuesday night.

But while protesters celebrated, they were also cautious about the possibility the MOJ will appeal against the decision.

Cllr Phil Knowles said after the meeting: "I hope the MOJ accept this decision with good grace and look elsewhere in the country for a site.”

And now Cllr Knowles has written to the MOJ to get a firm answer.

In his letter, he said: "On Tuesday evening, this planning application was considered and the arguments made by both sides.

"Officers reports were considered along with submissions and letters, emails, etc, noted.

"The planning committee listened, a proposal to refuse was made - with reasons put forward. Then a vote was duly taken. The decision to refuse was unanimous.

"In acceptance of this decision I urge the Ministry of Justice to confirm that there will be no attempt to overturn this democratically made decision to refuse the planning application, no appeal and that the MOJ will look elsewhere in the country for the prison building requirements."

We approached the MOJ for comment and they said that they are still considering whether or not to appeal.

An MOJ spokesperson said: “Our aim is to support the local area and economy by creating hundreds of new jobs and keeping streets safe. We note the decision and will consider our next steps.”

Cllr Diana Cook, chairman of Lubenham Parish Council, told the Mail this afternoon: “I’m fully behind Cllr Knowles on this.

“The Ministry of Justice should back off now.

“They are currently creating hundreds more places for prisoners at nearby jails in Wellingborough and Glen Parva.

“How many more prison places do they need to create around here?

“This should be the end of it,” stressed Cllr Cook.

“We were jubilant when this plan was thrown out, absolutely delighted.

“But the action group set up to stop this new superjail are still fired up and we are ready to go back into battle if the MoJ does decide to appeal.”