Coun­cil backs new 500-ca­pac­ity prison

Evening Express (Extra Edition) - - FAMILY MEMORIES - By David Ewen

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.

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