North East Wales

Kingmoor Park doubts over super-jail site

Land near the former Firestone factory, Wrexham Industrial Estate
Image caption The former Firestone factory site is seen as the only remaining contender

A firm behind one of two potential sites for a new north Wales super prison has told BBC Wales it is effectively out of the running.

Two sites on Wrexham Industrial Estate were put forward for the £250m jail.

But the owners of one, Kingmoor Park Properties Ltd, hopes to use the land for a power station, leaving the Welsh government-owned former Firestone site as the only likely contender.

The Ministry of Justice said no formal decision had been made.

The UK government announced in June that north Wales was the chosen site of a super prison which would have room for 2,000 inmates.

It is expected to be built by 2017 and will be the first modern prison in the region.

It has been claimed the prison could be worth about £23m a year to the north Wales economy and would make family visits easier.

Image caption Kingmoor Park hopes its land will be used for a power station

Wrexham campaigned to host the prison with the backing of other local councils in the region and two sites were put forward.

The first was the former Firestone rubber factory, now owned by the Welsh government.

The other was land owned by Kingmoor Park Properties Ltd.

However, Kingmoor Park has optioned a large section of its land to Wrexham Power, which hopes to build an £800m gas-fired power station.

Tony Goddard, Kingmoor Park chief executive, said he was invited by Wrexham council to put forward the land for consideration for a prison, alongside the old Firestone site.

He said: "We put forward our land, they put forward their land.

"I haven't heard anything back since.

"I can only assume that our land is not suitable for them."

He said the company would be "happy to talk" to the Ministry of Justice about jail plans, but added the land was currently committed to Wrexham Power and his company was not in the running for the prison.

He added: "What would be great news is to get the prison on the Firestone site and to get the power station on our site.

'Great news'

"One could provide heat and light for the other and all the associated jobs that go with that.

"I think it would be great news."

Wrexham Power is preparing plans for the plant, which are not expected to be submitted until next year.

The proposed jail would be Category C, for inmates who cannot be trusted in open conditions but who do not have the resources and will to make a determined escape attempt.

The Welsh government said the 108-acre former Firestone site - supported by First Minister Carwyn Jones - was acquired by the then Welsh Development Agency in 1994 and was prepared for development shortly after.

It has been on the market for employment use "for a number of years".

Once the final location has been confirmed work could start next year.

The Ministry of Justice said no formal decision had been made on where the prison would be sited but said an announcement would be made in due course.

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