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Council demands formal re-evaluation of prison closure

Published Friday, 03 August 2012

Wellingborough Council has unanimously passed a resolution to formally reject the decision to close Wellingborough Prison.

At a meeting of the full council on Tuesday evening, all councillors agreed that a letter should be sent to the Secretary of State for Justice supporting a parliamentary debate on the 'fundamentally flawed' decision.

The full resolution read:

"This council formally rejects the decision to close HMP Wellingborough by the Secretary of State for Justice. The prison is most certainly not outdated in comparison to prisons built by the Victorians. The hard work of the staff and management in reducing costs and improving performance should not be thrown away.

"The council will write to the Secretary of State for Justice and the Member of Parliament for Wellingborough to support the MP in the parliamentary debate that has been agreed for September. The council also invites the Secretary of State to come to Wellingborough to discuss this fundamentally flawed decision. The Borough Council of Wellingborough is proud of its prison and demands a formal re-evaluation of the position."

Councillor Paul Bell, who agreed the wording of the resolution together with opposition councillor Adam Henley said: "This is something the whole council feels strongly about, as was apparent by the overwhelming cross-party support. Following the unanimous decision to pass the resolution at the council meeting, a letter has been sent to Kenneth Clarke asking him to come to Wellingborough to discuss the issue with us. We've also offered to meet with him in Westminster. We want the Ministry of Justice to understand exactly how this decision could affect our borough. The prison is a major employer, with both directly-employed staff and other suppliers and businesses relying on it, and the closure would obviously have a knock-on effect on our local economy. The campaign to have this decision given proper consideration and debate is gathering pace and the council is fully in support of that."