THE head of Conwy County Council has asked a group of Westminster politicians to back a £212 million prison in North Wales.
Council Leader Dilwyn Roberts, Chair of the North Wales Regional Leadership Board, has written to the House of Commons’ Welsh Affairs Committee to recommend that it supports the development of the new “super prison” in Wrexham, due to open in late 2017.
Cllr Roberts described how all six local authorities in the region back the project, which would create more than 1,000 jobs, 100 apprenticeships and £30million of investment in the region.
He added: “Wrexham council has done a great job in bringing such a significant infrastructure development into the region, and while we are aware that the development has its critics, this project will significantly improve our local criminal justice services while also making a vital contribution to the region’s wider economy.
“We are now working closely with the Ministry of Justice and partners from across North Wales to ensure that the potential benefits of the new prison are fully realised for the region as a whole.”
The Regional Leadership Board argues that North Wales is the only region in the UK without a prison, and the development offers a vital opportunity for improving services for North Wales’ offenders and their families.
However, critics including Wrexham MP Ian Lucas and Plaid Cymru’s Wrexham representative Carrie Harper have highlighted security concerns and added “strain” on the NHS.
Outline planning permission for the prison has already been granted, with Lend Lease named as the preferred contractor in June 2014.