Extra cells and fitness centre approved for major Norwich prison expansion

HMP Norwich

The expansion of Norwich prison includes plans for new facilities, including a fitness centre for inmates - Credit: Archant

The expansion of Norwich prison has seen plans for new facilities, including a fitness centre for inmates, given the go-ahead.

It comes as the government plans to create more than 170 additional places, on top of the existing 769 capacity. 

One of the wings of HMP Norwich

One of the wings of HMP Norwich - Credit: Archant

As part of the major revamp the removal of existing buildings and glass houses to enable the construction of a sports hall and fitness centre has been approved by Norwich City Council. 

Meanwhile an internal refurbishment of the Elizabeth Fry Wing will bring back accommodation use for up to 173 prisoners.

The city council confirmed this particular refurbishment does not require planning permission or any other form of consent.

The new sports hall and fitness centre will be located on the northwest side of the prison compound and will provide new sporting facilities, changing and showering areas and a staff office.

HMP Norwich

The new sports hall and fitness centre will be built in the northwest corner of HMP Norwich - Credit: Mike Page

Supporting the plans a submission from Sport England said: “Everyone deserves the opportunity to engage in sport and physical activity, and people serving sentences in prison deserve the opportunity to participate in sport, whether it is five-a-side football, basketball, badminton or other indoor sports such as volleyball.”

In its recent annual report the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) for HMP Norwich raised concerns about the planned increase in inmate numbers,

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It said it had written to the prison’s minister to ask if this would be matched with additional education and other facilities.

The main gate to Norwich Prison

The main gate to HMP Norwich from Knox Road - Credit: Archant

Both HMP Norwich and HMP Wayland, near Watton, are among 16 institutions to be refurbished or extended under plans to create 4,000 extra prison places.

Plans for a 122-bed extension at Wayland, as well as a new athletics track and all weather football pitch, were approved in April.  

The government has not said how much the HMP Norwich refurbishment will cost, but that it was part of a £150m investment in the estate to help bring all jails into the 21st century.

Peter Gallagher, who lives in Honey Close near HMP Norwich 

Peter Gallagher, who lives in Honey Close near HMP Norwich - Credit: Ben Hardy

Homeowners living near the Knox Road prison received letters informing them of the expansion plans. 

Peter Gallagher, who lives in nearby Honey Close and is the secretary of the residents' association which has bi-monthly meetings at the prison, said: "It does not bother most people living here. The only issue would be construction traffic but the prison have done their best to mediate that.”