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Port Talbot earmarked for major new prison

Words: Roger Milne
Port Talbot

Plans for a major new prison to be built in Port Talbot have been unveiled as the government announced the locations of four new jails – three at existing prison sites in Yorkshire, Wigan and Rochester.

Port Talbot has been earmarked for a new development as part of the government’s commitment to create up to 10,000 modern prison places by 2020, backed by £1.3 billion to transform the estate.

The proposed site is undeveloped land north-west of the former Panasonic factory in Baglan Bay, alongside the M4.

Justice secretary Liz Truss said final decisions on the new jails would be subject to planning approval, value for money and affordability.

The announcement is the latest step in a £1.3 billion revamp of the estate first launched under Truss’s predecessor, Michael Gove, amid concerns a number of facilities were overcrowded and run-down.

The announcement came weeks after the opening of HMP Berwyn – the new modern prison in Wrexham, North Wales, which will hold more than two thousand prisoners.

Ministers have insisted the construction of this facility has already contributed over £100 million to the local economy, created around 150 jobs and apprenticeships, and it is anticipated that a new prison at Port Talbot would have similar beneficial impact.

Steven Phillips, Neath Port Talbot Council’s chief executive, said: “The council hasn't received any planning application from the Ministry of Justice, but any application it receives will be dealt with in the normal way, which will include a full consultation with the local community.”

Meanwhile, in a related but separate development, it has emerged that property consultancy Savills has been commissioned to provide a valuation of the existing, partly Victorian, HMP Cardiff, which could be sold for city centre residential development.

More information about the three prisons in England can be found here.

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