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Norfolk prison could house extra inmates

PUBLISHED: 16:00 07 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:28 02 July 2010

HMP Bure

HMP Bure

Ed Foss

A new prison block could be built at HMP Bure, housing 100 additional inmates at the specialist unit for male sex offenders on the former RAF Coltishall airbase.

A new prison block could be built at HMP Bure, housing 100 additional inmates at the specialist unit for male sex offenders on the former RAF Coltishall airbase.

The Category C prison at Scottow was designed for a maximum of 523 inmates and the extension, if submitted and approved, will bring that total to around 620.

The additional two-storey building would not increase the size of the prison site, but would be 'infill' on the current area, which is approximately 30 acres.

Planning permission would need to be secured from North Norfolk District Council to allow the new building, but the Ministry of Justice has said it wants to complete the works by summer 2011.

Yesterday prison governor Paul Cawkwell confirmed the plan.

“We have organised consultation events to gauge opinion amongst our neighbours and elected representatives and the decision to make a formal planning application will be based on the result of those consultations,” he said.

There were no plans to expand beyond the perimeter fence, said Mr Cawkwell, and if the plan goes ahead, the new block would be built on the only remaining plot within the prison's existing footprint.

“We have had a quiet introduction to life as a prison and the feedback we have had from our community liaison committee has been very supportive so far,” he added.

In correspondence to interested parties, the Ministry of Justice has referred to the expansion as being done on a “fast track basis”.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said he wanted to be satisfied the extension could be fitted safely into the site, but felt the new building would make little significant difference to the public.

However he was keen to hear from residents with concerns or questions.

HMP Bure opened to inmates in late November and has been occupied in stages.

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