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Coltishall jail plan faces legal delays

PUBLISHED: 10:24 26 September 2008 | UPDATED: 09:09 13 July 2010

One of the government's quick-fix solutions to ease national pressure on prison places by converting part of a former Norfolk RAF base into a 500-place prison has been stopped in its tracks.

One of the government's quick-fix solutions to ease pressure on prison places by converting part of a former Colitshall RAF base into a 500-place prison has been stopped in its tracks.

An application by the Ministry of Justice to transform old airmen's quarters into a category C prison is set to be quashed at the High Court.

The MoJ had been hoping to house the first prisoners in the as yet-unnamed facility as early as next March, but the court action means they will have to reapply for planning permission.

That process could take months and the opening date will now have to be radically reassessed.

North Norfolk District Council has admitted that it did not follow proper planning procedure when it granted the MoJ permission to build the prison last month.

It conceded that, because the site is over one hectare in size, a flood risk assessment should have formed part of the submitted planning application.

The case has been brought by north Norfolk developer Richard Davies, who is the man behind proposals to build an eco-town on the remaining part of the airbase site at Scottow.

Building work has already started to convert the old airmen's quarters and the MoJ had hoped that the prison would be ready for its first intake as early as March next year.

But with the combination of additional planning application work and a lengthy public re-consultation process, it could be several months before a fresh decision is made.


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