Chorley refused the plans in December 2021. Credit: via planning documents

Outcome of Chorley super prison appeal delayed again 

The fate of plans for a 1,700-inmate facility north-west of the Lancashire town remains up in the air almost two years after the 575,000 sq ft scheme was refused amid Green Belt concerns. 

The inquiry into the Chorley prison scheme was due to reopen this week however, the Planning Inspectorate confirmed to Place North West that it had been delayed. No new date has been set. 

The Ministry of Justice lodged plans for the prison two years ago and has met with rejection twice during that time. 

Inspector Tom Gilbert-Wooldridge dismissed the Ministry of Justice’s appeal in October 2022, agreeing with Chorley Council’s assertion some months prior that the threshold of very special circumstances for development in the Green Belt had not been met. 

With the council and the Planning Inspectorate both looking unfavourably on the proposals, Michael Gove intervened, giving fresh hope to the scheme. 

Gilbert-Wooldridge’s report was put to the secretary of state who went against the inspector’s recommendation, opting to give the Ministry of Justice more time to provide additional information about how it would mitigate the project’s impact on highways. 

If the MoJ could do that, it would have reached the threshold of very special circumstances and the scheme should be allowed, Gove said. 

The date for considering that additional information has now come and gone, and the Ministry of Justice will have to continue to wait and see if it will be able to go ahead with its Chorley plans. 

The scheme forms part of the government’s £4bn New Prisons Programme. 

The category C facility would be located on 106 acres between two existing facilities south-west of Leyland; HMP Garth, an 850-capacity category B prison, and HMP Wymott, a category C prison with space for 1,200 inmates.    

Category C prisons hold prisoners whose escape risk is considered to be low but who cannot be trusted in open conditions. 

Comprising seven four-storey blocks, each capable of housing 245 prisoners, the project would also include kitchens, workshops, and kennels for prison dogs.    

A 525-space car park and a 1,326-metre perimeter fence also feature within the proposals.   

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The proposal of this super prison should be rejected as the roads surrounding the current prisons cannot cope with more traffic, all roads leading to these existing prisons are rural lanes. The volume and speed of traffic now is ridiculous. These roads are renowned for use by tractors, horse riders and cyclists increasing the volume of traffic would increase the risk of accidents. The moving of the local bus stop that our children use to get to school into the boundary of the prison and to have prisoners using the same buses on day release is surely a safeguarding issue. There’s been plenty of comments of people who do not live in the local area saying it’s a case of not in our backyard I wonder if it impacted their lives and the safety of their children they would be in the same frame of mind. It’s also being built on green belt which the government introduced to protect these areas unless it suits them to use it. There were other sites for this prison earmarked but for some reason they want to press ahead with this unsuitable option. If Michael Gove has an ounce of decency he will not press ahead with this prison in the village of Ulnes Walton

By Anonymous

Obviously prisons must not be built on fields. How about building a prison in Alderley or in the middle of Hale? Why not? Knock down a few old sheds and make place.

By Anonymous

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