Have your say on the new £66million jail being built in Inverness

Source: https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/inverness/1200309/first-public-event-for-new-inverness-prison-to-be-held-next-week/

The new proposed location for HMP Highland

The public will be consulted on the new proposed location for a £66million jail in Inverness next week.

The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) has confirmed it will hold a drop-in event at Inshes Church on Thursday, March 30.

It was confirmed last month that the service has concluded a deal to build on land behind Homebase at Inverness Shopping Park.

Next week’s event follows a pre-application notice submitted to Highland Council.

It is the precursor to a full planning application being lodged for the plans, after which public consultation events will be held.

A spokesman for the SPS encouraged residents to attend the session.

He said: “We believe the site is a suitable one and are interested in what people think of it.”

The new facility – named HMP Highland – would replace the aging HMP Inverness, more widely known as Porterfield.

Details submitted with the consultation notice says that the existing site does not “support redevelopment alongside normal prison operations”.

It adds: “The existing prison has been criticised for overcrowding and a lack of facilities in various reports by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland and these issues will be addressed as part of the proposals.

“HMP Highland will serve Highlands, Islands and Moray areas. This new prison will be capable of holding offenders in purposely designed accommodation units.”

As well as the main prison block, the facility will also include space for facilities, family help and a community integration unit.

The public drop-in will be held between 2pm-7pm at Inshes Church.

The latest site was secured by SPS after a previous suggestion of building the new prison on land at Milton of Leys close to the A9.

The suggestion sparked an outcry from local residents who were concerned about the choice of site.

Both sites at Milton of Leys and the retail park are owned by developer Hazeldene.

The current Porterfield jail in the Crown area of the city, was opened in 1902 and has an average of 117 prisoners in a facility designed for 103.