Speculation grows over Horfield Prison

November 27 2015

CONVERSATIONS need to be had over the future of Horfield Prison, says Bishopston councillor Daniella Radice.

CONVERSATIONS need to be had over the future of Horfield Prison, says Bishopston councillor Daniella Radice.

Speculation has grown about HMP Bristol’s fate since the government announced its plans to build nine new prisons and replace Victorian sites in city centres with housing.

Chancellor George Osborne and Justice Secretary Michael Gove say that this will allow over 3,000 new homes to be built across the country.

Around 10,000 prison places will move to the new prisons, where the reduced cost of modern facilities will save around £80 million per year, it is proposed.  

HMP Bristol accommodates adult male prisoners and a limited number of young offenders, both convicted and on remand, from all local courts.

It is a local category B prison with the majority of prisoners staying for less than 12 months.

Councillor Radice said: “I think we do need to being talking about the site as a community and what we would like there.

“If the government go ahead with the plans as announced I would have thought that Horfield was a prime example of an inner-city prison that they could sell for housing land. 

“It would be great to have really good eco-friendly homes on the site, but we would also need to take account of any increase in demand for school places and other local facilities such as green spaces, that a development would generate.”

Chancellor George Osborne said: “This spending review is about reform as much as it is about making savings.

“One important step will be to modernise the prison estate. So many of our jails are relics from Victorian times on prime real estate in our inner cities.

“So we are going to reform the infrastructure of our prison system, building new institutions which are modern, suitable and rehabilitative. And we will close old, outdated prisons in city centres, and sell the sites to build thousands of much-needed new homes.

“This will save money, reform an outdated public service and create opportunity by boosting construction jobs and offering more people homes to buy.”

Five of the new prisons will be open before the end of this parliament. The Victorian prison site at Reading is the first to be sold.