Prison service says there is no decision yet on Wellingborough Prison site

Prison bosses have said they are looking at different sites to see if they would be suitable for new prisons but no decisions have been made on any site yet, including Wellingborough.

Wellingborough Prison
Wellingborough Prison

MP for Wellingborough and Rushden Peter Bone has been reported this week as saying Wellingborough Prison could re-open.

The MP, who has been campaigning for Wellingborough Prison to be re-opened since it closed and has regularly raised the issue in Parliament, says meetings have taken place between the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and Wellingborough Council.

When asked about the future of the moth-balled site just off the A45 at Wellingborough, a prison service spokesman said: “We are closing down ageing and ineffective prisons and investing £1.3 billion in a modern prison estate, which provides better opportunities for rehabilitation and redemption.

“We are examining a number of different sites to consider whether they would be suitable for new prisons.

“Absolutely no decisions have been made and we are naturally exploring more sites than we will actually need, in order to ensure we choose the best possible locations.”

A Wellingborough Council spokesman said the authority recently had some contact with the Ministry of Justice and the plan is to hold a meeting in the near future.

Just a few months ago prison bosses said there was no change with the current situation at Wellingborough Prison despite plans to sell some prison sites for housing being revealed.

The plans for a major prison reform programme included proposals 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 could be on the list of sites to make way for housing, a prison service spokesman said at the time that there was no change with the current situation at the prison.

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.