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Prisons: Construction

Volume 473: debated on Thursday 13 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what planning policy (a) statements and (b) guidance have been issued by her Department and its predecessors on the construction of new prisons since May 1997. (193831)

Since May 1997, three extant publications have specifically referred to prison development. These are:

Circular 03/98 (DETR): ‘Planning for Future Prison Development’ includes the effect on local and unitary development plans, site selection, security and economic and other benefits.

Circular 02/06 (Communities and Local Government): ‘Crown Application of the Planning Acts’ describes how the planning Acts apply to the Crown with the ending of Crown immunity in the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. Prisons are mentioned as part of the operational land of the Home Office (now Ministry of Justice) in the context of new Crown permitted development rights.

Planning Policy Statement 25: ‘Development and Flood Risk’ (Communities and Local Government), published in 2006. This classes prisons as more vulnerable to flood risk, which means that the PPS25 exception test should be applied if a prison is essential in an area of high flood risk to ensure it is safe.

Although prison development is not specifically mentioned elsewhere, since the removal of Crown immunity in 2006, prison development should be considered in the context of the national planning policy framework.