Mothballed Wellingborough Prison site to be rebuilt

HMP Wellingborough
Image caption Wellingborough Prison closed in 2012

A new prison will be built on the site of the mothballed HMP Wellingborough, it has been announced.

The Ministry of Justice confirmed the former category C prison as the first site for potential redevelopment under the government's modernisation drive.

It is part of a scheme to close old Victorian jails.

Peter Bone, MP for Wellingborough, who has been leading a campaign for the prison to be reopened, said he was "absolutely delighted".

He said: "The campaign to save Wellingborough prison goes back many years and I am extremely grateful to all those that supported the campaign.

"It just shows that a local campaign by people who care about something can still succeed."

Image caption Wellingborough MP Peter Bone has been campaigning for the site to be reopened

HMP Wellingborough, just off the A45, closed in December 2012 and resulted in the lost of almost 600 prison places.

Mr Bone said the new prison will house more prisoners and will have better facilities to enable inmates to be rehabilitated.

"It will create hundreds of jobs and pump significant sums of money into the local economy," he said.

Analysis: Sam Read, BBC Radio Northampton politics reporter

Today's announcement about a new prison for Wellingborough is what many people in the town have been waiting for.

Ever since the old prison closed in 2012 campaigners and the local MP, Peter Bone, have been relentless in calling for this move to help deal with a shortage of places.

The government says it will build five new jails by 2020, but Wellingborough is one of only two sites to be named so far. That must be seen as a victory for local campaigners.

The Prisons Minister Sam Gyimah is promising the move will bring 3,000 jobs to the area and an £80m a year boost to the economy - that is the prize those campaigners have been chasing.

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