Deal almost sealed for new prison next to retail park
Land talks progressing on £66m jail to replace Porterfield
A deal that would pave the way for a £66million jail next to the biggest retail park in Inverness is on the brink of being struck.
Land negotiations between the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) and landowner Hazledene Inverness are understood to be close to conclusion.
The Press and Journal revealed in June last year that prison bosses were assessing a site proposed for the city’s new jail behind Homebase at the southwestern end of Inverness Shopping Park.
The boundary to the west of the site is a rail track and in the north is the Stoneyfield Business Park.
The SPS turned to the newsite after a community campaign forced it to abandon plans to locate the replacement for Porterfield Prison at Milton of Leys to the south of the city.
Asource close to the talks said last night: “We’re hoping to conclude negotiations around that site shortly”.
Hazledene Inverness owns both the Milton of Leys site and the alternative location.
It also owns the 200-acre Stratton site, which borders Smithton and Culloden, and has been earmarked for an 1,800-home development.
Sources close to the landowner dismissed claims that the prison could be built at Stratton, saying: “There has never been any suggestion of the prison going to Stratton. There is no chance of the prison going to Stratton.”
The new proposed prison site was previously suggested for a £40million expansion of the retail park, and permission was granted for a bridge over the railway to link the UHI Campus to the retail park.
If it is built by the retail park, visitors and staff at the new prison could access the site from a newrail station being considered to serve the shops, UHI campus and Stoneyfield Business Park.
The move comes as the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service progresses with plans for a new £23million “justice centre” off Longman Road on the site of a former bus depot.
As well as housing the new sheriff court it will provide specialist facilities for victims and witnesses.
“There is no chance of the prison going to Stratton”
RIGHT SITE? The area of ground close to Inverness Business and Retail Park and the UHI Campus proposed for the new prison.
A new £23m ‘justice centre’ is planned for a site off Longman Road