Noranside Prison site in Angus goes up for sale

Noranside Prison Possible uses for the site include leisure and housing, the agents said

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A former open prison that once held sex offenders and murderers is to be put up for sale.

Noranside Prison in Angus closed in October, with all the inmates moved to another jail near Dundee.

Agents Graham and Sibbald, who will market the prison, said it was situated in "lovely country" with "spectacular views".

Local planners and Historic Scotland will be consulted over the future of the site's Category B listed building.

Andrew Dandie, who will head the sale of the property, said possible uses for the former prison included leisure and housing.

He confirmed the agency had already had several expressions of interest, even though it will only be formally put on the market in the New Year.

Notorious inmates

Mr Dandie told the BBC: "We have a meeting coming up with the local planning authority, Angus Council, which will determine what we could do.

"Obvious uses would be leisure or residential, but there are listed elements to it."

The total size of the site is 108 hectares (267 acres) and includes a former working farm, market garden and woodland. Noranside House, the main building on the site, is listed.

Mr Dandie said he hoped potential buyers would not be put off by the fact it once held some of Scotland's most notorious prisoners.

"Where they were kept can be demolished - the listed part of the building never included the cells," he added.

The closure of Noranside prison was confirmed in the summer by the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), following months of speculation about the future of the jail.

Under capacity

In December 2010, the SPS said Noranside had been running under capacity since the Scottish government ordered a tightening of the rules on open prisons in the wake of the Robert Foye case in 2008.

Foye raped a 16-year-old schoolgirl in Cumbernauld after absconding from Castle Huntly, while serving a sentence for attempting to murder a police officer.

An SPS spokesman said the "strictest-ever" risk assessment was now in place on whether inmates should be allowed to be kept in open prisons, and Noranside was only running at 65% capacity.

Union leaders campaigned to save the jail, but a date was set for its closure on 2 August 2011.

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