Have your say over a multi-million pound plans to expand Gartree Prison
The Government is poised to act as it also sets out to build a new £300 million super prison at Gartree over the next four years
Harborough council chief Phil King is urging people to make their voices heard about a multi-million pound scheme to expand a high-security prison near Market Harborough.
The district council leader spoke as the Prison Service unveiled plans to build a new houseblock at 56-year-old high-security Gartree Prison by 2024 – housing up to 247 more inmates.
The Government is poised to act as it also sets out to build a new £300 million super prison at Gartree over the next four years.
Cllr King said: “I’m aware of these proposals to expand the existing jail at Gartree.
“Sadly, there is a need for more prison places as our prison population continues to rise nationally.
“The Government will be looking at this issue carefully and establishing where they can deliver this extra capacity.
“So they are setting out to expand Gartree Prison and carry out other improvements there too,” said Cllr King, who’s also a county councillor.
“At the same time the Government’s also planning to build a big new jail at Gartree – and local people have concerns about that too.
“We will all have to consider and work out what the cumulative impact of the new prison and expanding the existing jail will have on our local infrastructure.
“I know for a fact that both Foxton and Lubenham parish councils understandably have concerns about what this will mean for local people and the area.
“I’m pleased to see more money and new investment being poured in to upgrading and improving Gartree jail.
“But we’ll have to look very closely at how it all pans out.
“And I’d encourage people across the Gartree area to contact the Prison Service and let them know just how you feel about this.”
Cllr Phil Knowles, who heads up the Liberal Democrats on Harborough council, said: “I’m extremely worried by the scheme to make Gartree jail even bigger.
“They will obviously have to bring in more staff to look after the extra prisoners.
“And we’ve probably got a huge new jail coming on down the line in the near future as well.
“Think about the disastrous impact on our narrow local roads, housing and entire infrastructure,” said Cllr Knowles.
“It will be a devastating double whammy for residents and villagers.
“So please take part in the Prison Service’s democratic consultation and tell them exactly what you think of their plans to totally transform Gartree in more ways than one.
“And my own message to the Ministry of Justice is simple – please think again.”
You can find out much more about the blueprint to expand Gartree Jail here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/proposed-prison-expansion-in-market-harborough-public-consultationYou can also send your views by email to [email protected]
You have until 12.15am on Monday November 15 to engage with the study yourself.
Gartree Prison was built in 1965 – and currently houses about 630 prisoners.