CGI of HMP Hindley with the new houseblocks and workshop towards the back in dark grey. Credit: via planning documents

Wates and Kier secure £500m prisons contract

The contractors will build houseblocks at six prisons, including HMP Hindley in Wigan, as part of a £4bn government prison investment programme.

Nationwide, the x-shaped houseblocks will be able to hold more than 2,600 inmates. At HMP Hindley, there will be two blocks capable of holding 247 prisoners each.

The Hindley site is roughly 40 acres. The two houseblocks will each be 80,500 sq ft and stretch out across four storeys. They represent a 75% increase in capacity for the prison, which currently has a maximum capacity of 640 prisoners across its existing seven houseblocks.

The houseblocks will have wider landings, which, along with their shape, will allow increased visibility to aid guards in keeping order. The blocks will have easier access to healthcare facilities and kitchens as well.

Each of the houseblocks at Hindley will have a multi-use game area adjacent to them for prisoners to exercise in.

The houseblock proposal also includes a two-storey workshop for prisoners to learn new skills in. That workshop would be nearly 80,000 sq ft.

Plans at Hindley also include an increase in car parking spaces from 325 spaces to 494. That number includes 25 disability spaces.

Cushman & Wakefield is the planning consultant for the Hindley prison expansion. Mott Macdonald drew up plans for the facility, as well as provided a variety of other services including advising on flood risk, air quality, sustainability, transport and noise.

Other prisons that will be receiving new houseblocks as part of the government programme include HMPs Bullingdon, Channings Wood, Elmley, Highpoint and Wayland. Kier Construction and Wates Construction Group estimate that more than 2,000 jobs will be created during the construction period for the projects.

Wates executive managing director Paul Chandler said the group had been working with the ministry for nearly two decades on the modernisation of the prison estate.

“Drawing on the expertise of our in-house engineering and offsite manufacturing specialists, we will be working closely with our alliance partners to deliver greener, more operationally efficient buildings that support the MoJ’s net zero ambitions by 2040,” Chandler said.

“Not only this, but our focus will be on creating environments that boost staff and prisoner wellbeing, and that encourage better rehabilitation outcomes for the people that these buildings serve in the long-term.”

Kier group managing director Liam Cummins said the programme was a “fantastic opportunity” for the company to build its relationship with the MoJ.

“We are excited to be combining our national, custodial expertise with our strong regional delivery capability to unlock value for the MoJ, both at strategic programme and local delivery levels,” Cummins said.

“As a project integrator, we look forward to continuing to drive forward the high standards we have set in using modern methods of construction, including innovation, technology and pushing the boundaries of Design for Manufacture and Assembly.”

For those looking to learn more about the HMP Hindley expansion, the application’s reference number with Wigan Council is A/22/93217/MAJPSI.

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