‘New prison block’s OK but sort out parking’

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TENTATIVE plans to build a new prison block at the Mount Prison haven’t ruffled any feathers in Bovingdon – but neighbours are concerned parking issues will escalate.

Officials from the Ministry of Justice and the Bovingdon prison met with the parish council at a public meeting on Monday, July 23, to discuss plans for a new block which would see the number of prisoners reach more than 1,000.

Three new buildings would be constructed within the prison walls, including a new L-shaped housing block for 240 new prisoners, a new kitchen, and a new sports and education building.

No official planning application has been submitted yet.

The government is key to expand Category C ‘working’ prisons like the Mount.

Many residents who attended the meeting and live close the prison said it had little impact on them and that a new prison block was not a concern.

But the issue of parking, with cars blocking neighbouring residential streets, is a major concern.

One Lancaster Drive resident said: “The biggest problem is parking around here.

“The staff car park at the prison fills up and then the visitors car park does, so then people park on the road.

“People will come in their cars regardless of any new green travel policy.”

As part of the plans, which officials envision could be carried out in a year’s time, 30 new spaces would be built.

Locals say this will not be enough to cope with extra staff and increased visiting times.

Prison governor Steve Bradford said that he was pleased there was no objection to the plans and that the parking situation would be looked at.

What’s your take on the plan? Let us know, email views 
to the gazette@jpress.co.uk