North Wales Prison in Wrexham
In September 2013, the Secretary of State for Justice announced that the Former Firestone Site on Wrexham Industrial Estate would be the location for a North Wales Prison, the first prison for the region.
The site was selected by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) after a site search within the priority areas of North Wales, North West of England and London. The MoJ is building a prison in North Wales because there is currently no prison in the region. A prison will give offenders the opportunity to be held closer to their homes which has been shown to be an important factor in reducing reoffending. It will also be as huge boost to the North Wales economy. The construction alone is a £212 million investment.
The prison will be a Category C closed prison holding adult male offenders. Category C prisons are:
“Cat C prisoners: those who cannot be trusted in open conditions but who do not have the resources and the will to make a determined escape attempt”
It is a training and resettlement prison where the focus will be on the education training and resettlement of offenders.
- (04 November 2014) UK Government welcomes final approval on Wrexham Prison in north Wales
- (04 November 2014) North Wales Prison Statement
- (03 November 2014) Prison Health Impact Is ‘Red Herring’ Says County Councillor
- (30 May 2014) Boost for North Wales as Lend Lease is Awarded Prison Contract
- (20 May 2014) North Wales Council Leaders Re-Affirm Commitment to the North Wales Prison in Wrexham in meetings with the Ministry of Justice
What is the Project’s Current Position?
- Outline planning permission was granted in January 2014.
- On 30 May 2014, Lend Lease was announced as the preferred contractor to construct the prison.
- Full planning permission was granted for the project on 3 November 2014.
- The estimated cost of the construction contract is £212 million.
- 3 successful supplier events have taken place this year in Wrexham: in January, June, & July which saw over 600 businesses attend over 5 days.
- Preparatory works have started on site. This includes works, with Natural Resource Wales, towards protecting the European-protected Great Crested Newt as well as butterflies such as the Grizzled Skipper. These will have new homes in the Ecological Mitigation Area.
- An Employment, Skills and Engagement Working Group has been established by Lend Lease to drive the delivery of commitments linked to local employment, apprenticeships, work placements, school engagements and training. The first meeting was held in Wrexham in September.
- The first work placements have already taken place when 29 Coleg Cambria students visited the site to learn about the survey and ecological stages of construction.
- The North Wales Prison Regional Stakeholder Group has been established by the MoJ and the National Offender Management Service (NOMS). The objective of the group is to engage North Wales regional main stakeholders with the delivery of the new North Wales Prison. The group membership consists of the MoJ, NOMS, Health, Probation Service, Police, Fire, Ambulance, Regional Local Authorities, WLGA and Welsh Government.
- The emergency services and health board are undertaking their own work to assess, and prepare for, the impact of the prison.
- It has been our priority to ensure that the local community has been kept involved and engaged in the project.
- We have visited a number of prisons, including HMP Oakwood, the last new prison to be built, in order to better understand the workings of a prison and the impact on the locality. On one occasion, we visited a prison with the local Community Council.
We will keep you updated on progress with the project.
When will the Prison be Built?
Lend Lease expects the main construction work (starting with the erection of the secure perimeter fence and earth works) to begin in December 2014, subject to planning.
The first house block is expected to be open in February 2017 with the prison becoming fully operational in September 2017.
The project is expected to bring a significant economic boost to the local and regional economy, during both construction and operation.
We are working hard to make sure that the economic benefits — jobs, work for local suppliers etc - stay within the local and regional area.
Lend Lease have committed to delivering the following local economic and community benefits during construction:
- around a fifth of the total contract value (circa £30 million) to be spent on local businesses;
- half of all labour utilised on the project to be recruited locally;
- around 100 apprenticeships (recruited locally, where possible) covering all age groups with the opportunity to progress into employment;
- around 500 days of work placement schemes from, for example local schools and colleges, in year 1, increasing each year during construction;
- a commitment to the up-skilling of workers employed in the construction of the prison;
- workshops to support SMEs and local business to improve their skills in securing tenders;
- working with schools to offer assistance in areas such as career assemblies CV and interview preparation, work experience and teacher support; and
- one day per year per staff member to be spend on work to meet community needs/objectives.
We will keep you updated on progress towards achieving these targets throughout the project.
HOW TO BECOME PART OF THE LEND LEASE SUPPLY CHAIN
If you work in the construction trade and are interested in tendering for works on the North Wales Prison please follow the link below to express an interest:
All other Non-construction trades can register their interest via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Estimates indicate that the project is worth around £23m in annual revenue to the local economy.
Naming of the Prison
No decision has yet been made on the name of the prison. In fact, the MoJ hopes to get the regional community involved in this process in the near future. The normal practice is to ask schools and community groups for name suggestions and often it is run as a competition, We understand that the MoJ would look for a name that is some way attached to the area or region, for example, Kennet and Dovegate prisons are named after rivers running through the area. Alternatively, there may be a historic association as was the case with Parc prison in South Wales, with the former hospital that sat on site.
You may be surprised to hear that the final approval on the name of the prison lies with the Queen, as it will be ‘Her Majesty’s Prison’.
Who will Manage the Prison?
No decision has yet been made on whether the prison will be run by the private or public sector. We expect the announcement early 2015 and will keep you updated.