No change with situation at Wellingborough Prison despite plans to sell other sites for housing

Wellingborough Prison closed in 2012

Wellingborough Prison closed in 2012

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Prison bosses say there is no change with the current situation at Wellingborough Prison despite plans being revealed to sell some prison sites for housing.

Chanceller George Osborne and Justice Secretary Michael Gove unveiled plans for a major prison reform programme earlier this week.

MP Peter Bone with Jeremy Wright at a press conference after visiting Wellingborough Prison in October 2012

MP Peter Bone with Jeremy Wright at a press conference after visiting Wellingborough Prison in October 2012

These included plans for nine new prisons to be built in England and Wales, which would allow the Government to close old Victorian prisons in city centres and sell the sites for housing.

Despite some reports suggesting that Wellingborough Prison, which closed in 2012, could be on the list of sites set to make way for housing, a spokesman for the prison service has said there is no change with the current situation at the prison.

The spokesman said: “No decision has been made about the future of HMP Wellingborough.

“This prison remains part of our future capacity plans and its position will continue to be reviewed.”

MP for Wellingborough Peter Bone has been campaigning for Wellingborough Prison to be re-opened since it closed.

He has regularly raised the issue in Parliament, including less than a week ago.

During the debate in the House of Commons, Mr Bone said: “What a prisons minister we have!

“He is going to get rid of the Victorian prisons and open modern ones, and it just so happens that Wellingborough has a mothballed modern prison, so it is terrific news he is going to re-open it and get rid of the Victorian prison.

“I thank him on behalf of my constituents, and will he confirm he is going to do it?”

However, Andrew Selous, the Parliamentary under-secretary of State for Justice, responded and said: “I say to my extremely persistent honourable friend that should there be any new news on Wellingborough I will make sure that he is the first to hear.”

Mr Bone also asked a similar question about the possibility of re-opening the prison in September.

He received a similar response then, with Mr Selous saying he had ‘nothing to add to the answers I have given him repeatedly in the past.’

Wellingborough Prison closed in December 2012 and resulted in the loss of almost 600 prison places.

Former justice secretary Ken Clarke said closing the category C prison in Northamptonshire would save £10 million per year.

When the prison formally closed on December 21, 2012, prisons minister at the time Jeremy Wright indicated that the site could be used as a prison again in the future.

But the Ministry of Justice instructed a commercial property consultant to make initial assessments of the site for redevelopment for housing during 2013.

In June 2014 Jeremy Wright stated in a parliamentary written answer to Mr Bone that Wellingborough Prison would be retained in a mothballed state for reserve capacity.