Council backs new 500-capacity prison
THE go-ahead has been given for a £140 million super-jail in the North-east.
Proposals to tear down Peterhead Prison and replace it with t he 500-capacity HMP Grampian have now been backed by council officers.
The bid for the South Road facility was previously supported by councillors in February – but a final decision on the application was left to Aberdeenshire Council’s head of planning, Paul Duthie.
A separate application to tear down an old chimney and workshop in the grounds of Peterhead Prison was first approved.
Now the Scottish Prison Service has started work on detailed plans and appointing a construction team.
A prison service spokesman today said a shortlist of suitable developers will be agreed once bids for the building contract have been gathered.
He said: “Hopefully, we will be able to identify the successful bidder before the end of the year.
“The detailed application for full planning permission should be lodged with Aberdeenshire Council at around the same time.”
A condition of planning permission in principle will be to carry out a check of possibly contaminated land on the site of the new jail.
Scientists have warned traces of crude oil chemicals have been found in the soil which may come from an unknown underground source of water.
It was understood waste and debris from a historical prison riot was also buried in underground pits on the land, which remains there today.
The new jail, which will house a mixture of men, women and young offenders, will replace the existing Peterhead Prison and Craiginches in Aberdeen.
Work is expected to be completed by 2014.
Plans for the new-build were confirmed by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, pictured, four years ago.
It followed a campaign to save the Buchan prison, which was threatened with closure in 2000.