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Government to sell off Victorian jails for housing


The government will build nine new prisons under plans to close Victorian jails and sell them for new housing

Under the proposals, five of the prisons will be built by 2020 and more than 3,000 homes could be built on the sites of the old jails.   

Around 10,000 inmates will be transferred to the new prisons, in a move which could save around £80m.

According to the BBC, grade II-listed HMP Reading, built in 1844 and closed in 2013, will be the first to be sold.

It also reported that the prison building programme is estimated to cost more than £1billion.

In addition to the nine prisons, a new jail is being built in Wrexham, with expansions taking place at HMP Stocken in Rutland and HMP Rye Hill in Warwickshire.

Further details will be revealed in the chancellor’s spending review on 25 November.

Meanwhile, four government departments have provisionally agreed to cut their budgets by an average of 30 per cent over the next four years, ahead of the spending review.

The departments for transport, local government, environment and the Treasury have all agreed deals, the BBC has reported.

They will make cuts to their day-to-day spending over the period through efficiency savings and ‘closing low-value programmes’.


David Nisbet, partner at Pick Everard
‘This is an announcement that we very much welcome. Building new, larger prisons is far more efficient than trying to update and maintain many of the antiquated facilities which are currently in place.

‘The investment made will be much more cost-effective in the medium to long term and will ensure that the programme of work can be tailored to current and future prison population levels.’


Readers' comments (2)

  • Kevan Shaw

    Ahh Old jails can make affordable housing?

    Kevan Shaw

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Chris Roche

    The profession should speak out against Gove's plans to turn prisons into homes - it is a suggestion as abhorrent as abolishing school lunches and inviting McDonalds to provide the catering.

    Chris Roche Founder 11.04

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