By Stephanie Weaver
The Ministry of Justice has officially announced that a new category C prison will be built on the site of the mothballed Wellingborough Prison.
The site will house more prisoners than the previous prison and will have better facilities to enable inmates to be rehabilitated.
This new prison at Wellingborough is part of the Government’s programme to close old Victorian jails and replace them with modern facilities.
Government papers released today (Thursday) read: “We have started the process to find suitable sites for new prisons.
“To progress the work to transform the prison estate we will apply for planning permission to redevelop the sites at HMP Wellingborough and HMP & YOI Glen Parva.
“The process of targeting sites for new prisons will continue throughout 2016 and into 2017.”
MP for Wellingborough Peter Bone MP has been campaigning to get HMP Wellingborough re-opened since its closure in December 2012, which led to the loss of almost 600 prison places.
Mr Bone said: “I am absolutely delighted that the Secretary of State for Justice has agreed that HMP Wellingborough should be re-opened.
“The new prison will create hundreds of jobs and pump significant sums of money in to the local economy.
“The campaign to save Wellingborough prison goes back many years and I am extremely grateful to all those that supported the campaign.
“In particular I want to thank Lynne Holcombe who led the residents’ campaign so effectively.
“Lynne’s tireless efforts in support of the prison is a major reason why we have succeeded in reopening it.
“I would also like to thank the support from local councillors, including Cllr Martin Griffiths current leader of the Borough Council of Wellingborough and Cllr Paul Bell who is the former leader of the council.
“Their wholehearted support of my listening campaign has had a significant impact.
“I would also like to thank a whole series of prison ministers who I have spent a lot of time a lot of time bending their ears in support of reopening the prison.
“It just shows that a local campaign by people who care about something can still succeed.”
Leader of Wellingborough Council Martin Griffiths was delighted to hear the news.
He said: “We have always said that Wellingborough with its excellent transport links was one of the best locations possible in the UK.
“I would like to pay tribute to our MP Peter Bone who, like me, has campaigned for over six years towards this, our former leader of the council Paul Bell, and Lynne Holcombe and all the residents of the Millers Park estate, a number of whom were former employees at the jail, for their support and patience over the years.”
While awaiting further details on the plans and a timescale for the work, Cllr Griffiths added: “The exciting news is a further huge financial boost for Wellingborough and for the job opportunities for our residents.”