Sports hall and extension of prison planned

HMP Norwich. Pictured inset is Peter Gallagher, secretary of the Residents' Association who lives nearby 

HMP Norwich. Pictured inset is Peter Gallagher, secretary of the residents' association who lives nearby - Credit: Steve Adams/Ben Hardy

Norwich Prison could soon be transformed with plans lodged for new facilities which include a new fitness centre for inmates. 

Homeowners living near the Knox Road prison have received letters informing them that separate planning applications are in the process of being submitted to the city council.

This includes the removal of existing buildings and glass houses to enable the construction of a sports hall and fitness centre. 

The council is awaiting further documents to be submitted by the applicant before the authority can publish the proposals online and consult with the public. 

One of the wings of HMP Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith.

One of the wings of HMP Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith. - Credit: Archant © 2009

There are also plans for an internal refurbishment of the Elizabeth Fry Wing which 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 plans include an electric substation as well. 

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Peter Gallagher, 60, lives in nearby Honey Close, and is the secretary of the residents' association which has bi-monthly meetings at the prison. 

Peter Gallagher, who lives in Honey Close near HMP Norwich 

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

On the planning application, Mr Gallagher 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. 

"The prison had power cuts during the storms so that is a reason for an electrical substation. 

"Around 60 to 70pc of the people here have a connection to the prison anyway and used to work there. I can't see myself objecting to it."

HMP Norwich is home to a wide variety of prisoners, including violent offenders. .Picture: ANTONY KE

HMP Norwich is home to a wide variety of prisoners, including violent offenders. .Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Amy Desai, 28, lives in Knox Road with her young family, and said prisoners often wait for a taxi outside her home when they have been released. 

She questioned if extending the prison for up to 173 prisoners would increase the noise levels.

Knox Road leading to HMP Norwich 

Knox Road leading to HMP Norwich - Credit: Ben Hardy

Michelle York, 43, who also has a young family living in Knox Road, said: "We will probably look at the plans in more detail to decide whether it will impact the value of the house.

"We knew about the prison when we moved here in December 2020." 

Honey Close with HMP Norwich visible in the background 

Honey Close with HMP Norwich visible in the background - Credit: Ben Hardy

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: “This new sports hall is part of our commitment to improving the physical and mental wellbeing of prisoners, which helps promote rehabilitation and protect the public by cutting reoffending.”