Response from Ms Ailie Savage, National Offender Management Service (NOMS)
1. Ms Ailie Savage, National Offender Management Service (NOMS) : 8 May 2008 11:35:00
Do you support, oppose or have an observation about this part of the Report?
Neither support nor oppose - just want to comment
Please write your comment or explain your reasons for supporting or opposing this part of the Report. You may also wish to refer to the tests of soundess in the glossary of the Preferred Options document before making your comments.
I am writing in relation to your emerging LDF on behalf of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) which incorporates HM Prison Service. NOMS would wish to be involved with the LDF process within your district. I would be grateful if you would address future correspondence on this matter to Lambert Smith Hampton on behalf of NOMS / HM Prison Service.
PPS12 ‘Local Development Frameworks’ notes that the core strategy development plan document should set out broad locations for delivering the housing and other strategic development needs such as essential public services. Paragraph 4.1 encourages early involvement of government agencies in the preparation of LDFs while paragraph B3 requires local planning authorities to develop a strategic approach to infrastructure provision (including community facilities) when preparing local development documents.
Circular 3/98 ‘Planning for Future Prison Development’ highlights the continuing overcrowding within the prison estate and the need to replace outdated and inadequate facilities. Specifically there is a need to identify more sites for new prisons. The Secretary of State expects that local planning authorities will work together with the Prison Service to identify land for new prisons through the development plan process. The Circular advises that in order to enable authorities to make provision for prisons within their development plans the Prison Service will consult with authorities about likely areas of future need (paragraph 7).
Circular 3/98 recognises at Paragraph 2 that there should be guidance in development plans on community facilities and infrastructure requirements and also that they should take account of the need for new prison developments, which should be identified through the planning system.
The Circular notes that in identifying potential prison sites, the Prison Service has to take account of local and regional requirements for additional prison places, the court catchment areas served and the relationship of the site to nearby population centres. It goes on to specify a number of other site development considerations and also recognises that the objectives of sustainable development and in particular the need to reduce unnecessary travel should apply to site selection. Prisons should not be located too far from the centres of population they serve and there should be reasonably good accessibility to public transport services.
The Circular also recognises that new prisons have potential for a substantial and beneficial impact on the economy of a local area. New jobs are created on site (both during construction and permanent jobs), goods and services are purchased in the community and extra local income is generated as a result of the disposable income of prison staff.
In recent years there has been a significant increase in the prison population. In the 1970’s the prison population in England and Wales was in the order of 40,000; in July 2005 that figure had risen to 76,538.
The prison estate is experiencing serious overcrowding. NOMS is doing everything it can to maximise capacity at existing prisons by bringing buildings back into use through refurbishment, new house blocks, temporary units and ‘ready to use’ units. However, many prisons are already operating at capacity and there is limited potential to significantly increase the number of places at existing prisons. The prison system is therefore heavily dependent on new prisons to provide the additional places.
What change(s) would you suggest for this part of the Report?
While there are no specific proposals for new prison development in your district at present nor specific sites identified, in line with Government guidance NOMS requests that you consider the inclusion of a criteria based policy to deal with a firm prison proposal should it arise during the plan period.
Please use this space if you wish to set out a new option for consideration.
I would be pleased to propose a detailed policy for inclusion in your Development Plan Document and would welcome your views on how this proposal should be taken forward.
cc Les Manton, NOMS